Newly Registered
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Apr 03, 2009 12:48 pm
Location: palm springs, ca.

growing tomatoes

good morning everyone!

love to grow my own tomatoes and herbs because cooking and eating are 2 of my passions. living in palm springs, we only have a short growing season as temps exceed 110 most days june through sept and I/2 of oct. I do pretty well with herbs(although parsley eludes me), but tomatoes are usually hit and miss. plants begin looking alright, but then seem to develope yellowish/brown leaves even though I faithfully water every evening after the sun goes down. should I not water the leaves? they get probably 6/8 hrs sun every day and grow in 20 gal. containers. should I prune off dying leaves? should I removes entire stem from main stem?

any help would be greatly appreciated!

thank you.

The Helpful Gardener
Posts: 7492
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2004 9:17 pm
Location: Colchester, CT

Watering in the evening after the sun goes down is not good, and watering the foliage then is even worse. You are creating the problem by splashing up the soil pathogens onto the plant, where the wet leaf harbors the fungal spore or bateria and allows it to establish itself on the leaf before sunrise and sterilizing UV rays...

Watering in the early morning does not leave the leaf wet, and is at the time of day fungal spores avoid (waiting for evening) and it is the time of day that plants are uptaking more vigourously as they are photosynthesizing then...if you MUST water at night, soaker hose is a much better way to go (no splash)...

I usually remove the lower foot of leaves when the plants get two feet tall or so, early blight and a lot of the other leaf pathogens climb a plant from bottom to top, so removing that first couple rungs makes it a great deal harder to do, and helps you avoid this problem...

Check out the Veggie Forum for more tomato tips...

Last edited by The Helpful Gardener on Fri Apr 03, 2009 1:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7500
Joined: Tue May 06, 2008 7:02 pm
Location: El Cerrito, CA

Three things:

1) Welcome to The Helpful Gardener! :D

2) I've moved your message to the Tomato Forum.

3) (my favorite...) According to the Sunset Western Garden Book, "The gardening year [in Sunset Climate Zone 13, where Palm Springs is] begins in September and October for most vegetable crops and annual flowers, although crops like corn and melons are planted in late winter. Fall-planted crops grow slowly in winter, pick up speed in mid-February, and race through the increasing temperatures of March and April. Spring winds and summer storms are a factor in gardening; the rains help with watering, and dense clouds shield plants from the hot sun."

So the growing season for tomatoes in Palm Springs is from September through April or May. Put 'em in NOW or wait until the heat breaks in September.

The Sunset Western Garden Book is THE book for understanding how growing zones work in the western United States & Canada. My public library has a circulating copy; I've also seen copies at independent garden-supply stores/nurseries. Take a look! :)

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

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