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Bountiful Florida

How To Grow Organic Tomatoes Right In Your Own Backyard

Emily D’Souza came to Florida from Northern California five years ago, where she was a competitive snowboarder and professional gardener. Giving up Nor Cal’s ‘normal’ growing seasons, Emily had to learn Florida’s wildly different growing cycles, planting her spring raised-bed garden in January instead of in May as she did back home. Determined to grow organically, Emily has to fight off at least five different types of veggie-loving caterpillars, as well as squirrels, cardinals, raccoons, rabbits, and the occasional mouse, all of which love to steal her prize tomatoes. But it’s all worth it. Emily’s tomatoes have more flavor by far than any kind of tomato that can be bought at the store. This year’s harvest was a bounty and her family enjoyed two months of fresh tomato dishes like Caprese salads, stuffed cherry tomatoes, garden fresh jalapeno and herb tomato salsas, slow cooked pasta sauces, and savory grilled cheese and tomato sandwiches, just to name a few.   

Tutorial Name: Growing Organic Tomatoes In Florida

Materials

+ High Quality Organic Soil

+ High Quality Organic Fertilizer

+ Use Proven Seeds

+ Plant In Full Sun

+ Bamboo Stakes 

+ Tomato Cages

+ Sharp Pruning Shears

+ Keep A Log Every Season

Optional

+ Save The Best Seeds

+ Use Organic Compost

+ Add In Earthworms

+ Garden With Love 

Tip 1

Build a raised bed planter and buy quality, organic soil. Don’t try to plant your garden in Florida’s sandy soil. Amend the soil before planting with organic fertilizer. Emily’s planters are 16” deep, 8’ long x 2’ wide. Place them in full sun if possible. 

Tip 2

Prepare for pests. Nothing works better than inspecting your garden daily and removing caterpillars by hand. Harvest your tomatoes as soon as they begin to ripen or risk losing them to bigger critters. Try playing howling wolves on a speaker at night to scare off racoons.  

Tip 3

Water and fertilize in the morning or evening. Only water at the plant’s base and keep the leaves dry, which helps prevent pests and disease. Trim off all leaves near the soil. Prune your plants aggressively to maintain airflow and direct growth to the fruit. 

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