As a northern veggie gardener,
it was always dissapointing when an early frost
would kill off the tomato plants.....
( full of tomatoes, of course )
I had dreamed that in places like Calif,
with no killer frost, tomatoes would be perennials.
We've recently moved to Southern Arizona.
In theory, this is tomato weather.
Sunny days, cool nights.
We have a cherry-tomato plant in back,
it's making tomatoes..... but slowly,
and the leaves are turning yellow.......
The plant is looking sickly....
I'm going to need some help here;
1. When planting tomatoes,
will I need to make any special preparations ?
2. Can I reasonably expect to see tomatoes 8 or 9 months a year ?
3. Any special variety to better deal with the Arizona climate ?
Even in perfect weather, tomatoes are annuals. Depending on the
varriety, the actual length of time they're productive may be longer
with perfect weather, but other varrieties will have a short fruiting
timeframe, and that's it.
If the weather is right, you can stagger the starting time of plants so
you can have some fruiting all the time, but they're still going to die.
They're annuals, not perenials.
I think tomatoes are a tender annual, so it's *possible* to keep them
alive from year to year, but it's unlikely -- but you have a better
chance than if they were a hardy annual. (Hardy annuals are hardwired
to die after one season.) But you'll find that in a subtropical
climate, the tomatoes will die from some wilt disease or another.
If it's really frost-free, you might try growing "tree tomatoes"
(tamarillos). They are kind are a close cousin of tomatoes; a tropical
tree with huge heart-shaped fuzzy leaves and they start bearing fruit
the second year.
Plant normal early and mid-season tomato varieties, and you can replant
a couple of times a year.
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