My home grown Everglades tomatoes in pots
Everglades tomatoes are easy to grow

Tomatoes Are Expensive!

Banish expensive tomatoes from your grocery cart today!! The last time we went to the store, we paid two bucks each for lame tasting tomatoes. These are some of the easiest veggies to grow at home, even if you only have a small porch or sunny window to put them on.

Tomatoes in pots

Instead of planting my tomatoes in the garden this year, I’m experimenting with them in pots. There are a couple of reasons for doing this. Primarily, I want to help others to grow a pot of tomatoes and save money at the store. You can actually grow a pot or two of them in a sunny window. Also, I’m curious about how they do in pots. Some plants love to be pot bound and will grow noticeably better. Others, not so much. I’m thinking that growing veggies in smaller pots when possible should make it more attractive for folks to try this at home in their spare time. No more expensive tomatoes for me.

About My Choice of Tomatoes

First, a little trivia about tomatoes. You probably already know they come in different sizes and believe it or not, different colors. In my opinion, lots of these are not well suited for pot plants. One type is known biologically as ‘determinate’ tomatoes. All this means is they flower and ripen all at once. The tomatoes are specially bred for this. It suits professional tomato farmers. They are easier to harvest for the highest yield. Growers care more about hardiness for shipping purposes and do not give one whit about taste.

Indeterminate Tomatoes

The indeterminate tomato is also known as heirloom or natural tomato. The two big differences are, that they continue to flower and set fruit throughout their lifespan and they taste much more tomatoey. Once you try one, you’ll never go back! Especially when you find out how easy they are to grow at home.

Everglades Tomatoes

We have what’s called a native Florida tomato called the Everglades Tomato. It’s also called the current tomato because of the size of the fruit. They originated in South America. The fruits are small, about the size of a blueberry. They are sturdy and hardy, even known to grow all year long in Florida. I can’t wait to see if they really do. I’m thinking they will become dormant in the heat, not flowering or setting fruit. We shall see!!

They’re Disease Resistant Too

The Everglades tomato is considered a ‘wild’ plant and is used to cross breed with hybrid tomatoes that are not as biologically strong. It has been shown to make them hardy, and more disease and insect resistant.

I’m more interested in them having a significantly longer growing season and being heat resistant. I want more tomatoes for longer each year. They may be small, but so what? We’re not buying them. We’re enjoying them.

How to Grow Everglades Tomatoes

Everglades tomatoes are no different than most other plants. They need three things; dirt, water, and sunlight. They are remarkably disease and bug free. That’s a big plus in my book. You need to fertilize them a lot too. Most veggie plants are heavy feeders. We’re asking a lot from them. Producing vegetables is energy intensive. I use a water soluble fertilizer. I’m not overwhelmingly concerned about ‘organic’ although I do grow my stuff as naturally as is reasonable to me. I buy Peters’ soluble plant food and mix it up in a milk jug, then I feed each plant every week. Any way that you want to feed your tomatoes is fine by me, just do it regularly.

Another Thing I Do

One other thing I do that will help you produce a more vigorous plant is to first plant the seeds into little containers. Transplant them into bigger containers as they grow. I use my wife’s yogurt cups to start the seeds. As they get bigger, I transplant them into a medium size pot but start them in the bottom of the pot with only a couple of inches of dirt under them. As they grow, I add dirt, following the stem and leaving only the growing head exposed. By continuing to do that, you will be strengthening the root system. They will send out new roots all the way up the stalk. I do this with all the tomatoes in my garden as well.

Using good quality dirt is very important too. Buy a bag of it or make your own. See my blog on making dirt.

The attached video is just short of two minutes. It shows close up details of these Everglades tomatoes and my story about getting them to this point in their cycle.

Live long and prosper!! GJ