2013 HOW TO GROW TOMATOES IN FLORIDA SEMINAR, by Larry Williams UF/IFAS Extension Agent

If you’ve experienced difficulties in growing tomatoes in Florida, you’re not alone. If you plan to grow tomatoes this year, you might want to attend the “How to Grow Tomatoes in Florida” seminar offered by the University of Florida Extension Service.

The seminar will be Thursday, March 28 from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm at the Okaloosa County Extension Office, 3098 Airport Road in Crestview.

Correct variety selection is a key factor in successfully growing tomatoes in Florida. One reason home gardeners have a difficult time growing tomatoes in Florida is because of incorrect variety selection. Most popular tomato varieties lack resistance to tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV) and bacterial wilt. These two diseases wreak havoc in home as well as commercial plantings.

Plant breeders develop varieties that have some resistance to these diseases. We encourage home gardeners to look for and request varieties that commercial farmers have had success with in recent years. We can recommend varieties to look for but there are not many of them in the home market, yet. Homeowners may have to buy the seed and start the transplants themselves.

At this year’s tomato seminar, we’ll share the basics of how to grow tomatoes in Florida’s challenging environment. We’ll also cover tomato pest control options, including non-chemical choices of combating the scores of tomato insect and disease problems. Dr. Steve Olson, UF/IFAS Extension vegetable crops specialist, will be a guest speaker at this year’s tomato seminar. Dr. Olson will discuss some of the challenges in growing tomatoes in Florida.We’ll also provide a session on grafting tomato plants as a method of disease management.

We hope to have some tomato plants which are resistant to TSWV for participants to take home and try.

Please preregister by March 25 by calling 850-689-5850 and press 0. there is a $5 cost to attend payable at the door. Space is limited. You must call to reserve a seat.

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