Plan Now for Fall Tomatoes, But it’s Summer

Since I’ve started to become more garden self-sufficient I’ve discovered that if there are certain varieties of tomatoes I want, especially heirloom varieties, then I need to start them from seed myself. You see the home vegetable gardener can’t rely on the garden centers or big box stores to have much variety.

This is so true in the spring garden season, but what about those of us fortunate enough to have a second tomato season the the fall. You’ve got to be pretty far south, my UNF is in Zone 9a, to have enough time for the tomatoes to ripen. In the past our fall tomato season has gifted us with fresh tomatoes into the first weeks of December.

But one of the realities of the vegetable garden that I’ve learned over the years is if you want fall tomatoes, especially any of the heirloom varieties, you need to start your seeds in the blazing heat of summer. I have a unique germination setup I’ll share in a future post.

For me I like to seed the fall tomatoes by July 4th. This is symbolic as we as a nation celebrate our Independence from England, I feel like I’m celebrating our Independence from the tyranny of the grocery store and same old card board tomato.

Heirloom tomato plugs being grown for fall transplanting

I’ve always grown a selection of fall heirloom tomatoes in my EarthBoxes with Taxi, Black Sea Man and Orange Blossom being good producers. This year I’m only growing an unnamed Roma-type I was gifted from a friend many years ago. Mrs. gardendoc and I will be canning tomato sauce, tomato jam and tomato bruschetta spread to share with family and friends.

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