Plant or Plan – Think About Next Tomato Crop Now
Savvy Central Texas Gardeners know that we actually have TWO gardening seasons here in Austin. The first starts around February 25th and ends with the arrival of summer. The second garden season starts in late August or September and ends with the arrival of the first frost on about November 29th. Unfortunately, our summers are just too hot for most plants and gardeners.
There’s a Reason Your Tomato Harvest Dwindles in the Heat
Tomatoes are a good example of plants that just don’t like the heat. For people from the north that sounds crazy. But the reality is that many tomato varieties have a survival mechanism that kicks in when nighttime temperatures start to exceed 76 degrees. The heat stress causes pollen to become sterile. Tomato breeders have responded with some varieties that handle the heat better than others, but in these days of extreme temperatures, yields are often reduced. Interestingly enough, cherry tomatoes don’t seem to suffer the same effects.
All of this means that you might as well just pull up your tomato plants once you’ve picked the last fruit in late June or July and start back in August or September with a new transplant.
Learn How to Grow Your Own Epic Tomatoes from the Expert – Craig LeHoullier
With this in mind, we’ve scheduled a very special guest to help you up your tomato game. Craig LeHoullier is a garden author and popular lecturer on growing tomatoes and other vegetables. His book, Epic Tomatoes, is a favorite of many of our Travis County Master Gardeners. In addition to writing, Craig is a tomato advisor for the Seed Savers Exchange and co-leads the Dwarf Tomato Breeding project.
We’ve scheduled him for a September 1 webinar on “Epic Tomatoes from YOUR Garden – some history, stories, and tips and tricks for success”.
Packed with photos from his various gardens, Craig will spend the first half talking about the tomatoes themselves, providing all you will need to plan your own successful tomato adventure. After a question break, Craig will return to share how to make it all happen, from planting seeds to harvesting and saving seeds, including different ways to grow your crop – traditional garden or raised bed, container or straw bales – ending with some favorite recipes. Be sure to have all of your tomato growing questions ready.
Program cost is $25, increasing to $35 on August 30. Due to technological constraints, the webinar has a limit of 100 attendees. Only registrants can access the live session. Once the live session has reached capacity, a recorded version will be available for purchase.
There will be a short break at approximately 11 am. The webinar will end at 12:00 pm.
You can submit questions during the webinar and get answers live as time allows. Afterward, questions that don’t make it to the webinar will receive emailed answers.
About Craig LeHoullier
Craig LeHoullier lives and gardens in Hendersonville, North Carolina (as of January 2020; prior to that, he and his wife and pets resided in Raleigh, NC, for 28 years). A Rhode Island native, he caught the gardening passion from his grandfather, Walter, and dad, Wilfred. Craig achieved his PhD in chemistry at Dartmouth College, which resulted in a 25 year career in pharmaceuticals that ended in 2008.
Craig’s gardening obsession, which started the year he and Susan were married (and their first garden, in 1981), is passing through several stages. His love of heirloom tomatoes began with his joining the Seed Savers Exchange, an organization for which he continues to serve as adviser for tomatoes, in 1986. He is responsible for naming and popularizing many well known tomatoes, such as Cherokee Purple.
In 2005 he added amateur tomato breeding to his garden resume, and continues to co-lead the Dwarf Tomato Breeding project, responsible for creating 125 (and counting) new compact growing varieties for space-challenged gardeners. His writing career kicked off with a 2012 request from Storey Publishing to write a book on tomatoes, resulting in Epic Tomatoes (2015). His second book, Growing Vegetables in Straw bales, soon followed (2016). Book 3, focusing on the Dwarf Tomato Breeding Project, is in progress.
His current and upcoming projects include a self-published garden cook book, a weekly Instagram Live each Friday at 3 PM Eastern from his garden, and additional opportunities on podcasts, webinars and speaking opportunities, as they arise.
Buy Epic Tomatoes directly from Craig LeHoullier