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Heirlooms in TN

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  • #16
    as far as shutting down in the heat (the humidity is less a problem, it just comes packaged with the heat east of the Mississippi) you can do two things to counteract that: 1) try to locate your tomatoes where they will get some afternoon shade or use shadecloth (you can build a frame out of PVC or conduit --to hold a piece of Aluminet shadecloth over them--you only need a little shade so i only put one piece directly above but at about 10 feet). We have several 'permanent' 10' wide by 10' high by say 30' long frames over which we stretch 7' wide Alumninet at times. We suspend wires to train tomatoes or cukes, toss in a few scarlet runner beans for the hummers. You can also mist them during the hot afternoon--the mist is meant to cool the air around them rather than wet them down per se--doesn't have to be continuous if you have or get a timer. i prefer PVC header with misting nozzles--got brass nozzles from Fungi Perfecti for mushrooms and used them for tomatoes too. You can build the nozzles into your shade cloth frame(s) i suppose. Just be sure you cut off the misting early enough for the plants to dry before nightfall.

    Cherokee Purples don't seem to be the most productive tomatoes over the long haul. in our garden, they tend to set a lot of fruit but for a very short duration (say 6-8 tomatoes each) and then slow down and become vulnerable to blights and other diseases--best to get rid of them soon to protect other varieties. (this is actually considered a good characteristic for field grown market tomatoes) Double cropping C. Purple seemed a good strategy for us--they make a good fall tomato. I found grafted ones (on eggplant) grown in containers produce all year but not at a high rate--preferred the simplicity of double cropping in the long-run.

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    • #17
      As an experiment I am going to plant Kong sunflowers along the west side of my garden to see if I get some of that shade I think would help later tomato settings. Thanks for all the suggestions.

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