Joy Blooms, follow my adventures in Lubbock as I garden here

New material added regularly, please check back
Last Updated on:  12/16/2015 04:00 PM

Home Page Gardening Lubbock Beagles Contact Us
Joy Blooms in the Garden

Joy Blooms in my Lubbock Garden
d to Lubbock, TX in Spring 2011
 Having to learn a new set of gardening rules.
Was in hardiness zone 5 - now in hardiness zone 7
Increased the growing seasons in the garden by 3 months.

Last Updated on:  Wednesday December 16, 2015 04:00 PM

Joy Blooms in the Garden

Gardening in Lubbock    Month-by-Month   Out Door Projects    Butterfly Gardens     It's for the Birds    Gardening Lessons from Daddy       
        Compost It!     Gardening Tips /Design     Veggies Anyone?    Gardening Links       Seed/Bulb Resources      My Garden Photo Albums

Finding the Secret to Growing Tomatoes in Lubbock - Tomatoes or Nothing!

Gardening Report 2012:  Much to my dismay - I didn't make a single tomato from the 9 transplants in 2012.  My gardening buds tell me that it is difficult to grow tomatoes in Lubbock.   How can that be?  I had bumper crops in Denver. 


Tomatoes are America’s favorite garden vegetable. (Yes, we technically eat the fruit of the tomato plant, but it's used as a vegetable in eating and cooking and, thus, usually categorized in vegetables.)

This vine plant is fairly easy to grow and will produce a bumper crop with proper care. Its uses are versatile, however, tomatoes are susceptible to a range of pests and diseases.

  • Determinate tomatoes basically grow to a pre-determined height (non-vining, if you will).  Once they set fruit, they pretty much stop growing.

  • Indeterminate tomatoes are vining tomatoes.  They continue to grow throughout the season and will produce new shoots and blossoms.  They produce fruits until frost.


  • Tomatoes can be transplanted outdoors after the danger of frost has passed. They need at least six hours of sunlight. Daddy transplanted around Good Friday or waiting until May is a good bet.

  • Dig a hole that will accommodate two-thirds of the plant. I watch by Daddy plant his tomatoes on their sides.  Both methods encourage more roots to form.  The tomato plant will thank you by becoming stronger & more productive above ground.

  • Mix fertilizer or compost in the bottom of the hole.

  • Buy two-thirds of the plant.

  • Fill the hole with water and then cover with soil.

To Salt or Not to Salt

  • Many gardeners, including me, apply Epsom salts around Tomato plants.  It makes for a greener and bushier plant; it  enhance production of healthier fruit; and it may help reduce blossom-end rot.

  • The formula is to add 1 tablespoon Epson Salt for each foot of height of the tomato plant and mix it into the soil around the base of the plant. Apply Epsom Salt every 2 weeks or so.  Epsom salts is available in drug and grocery stores.

    Why it works: Epsom salts are magnesium and sulfur. The plant uses them to increase growth and vigor.  Epsom salt does not build up in the soil and is an organic alternative to chemicals.


  • Deep watering is the key. Tomatoes like their watering to be consistent - don't let them dry out.

  • Mulching during the summer will help retain moisture.

  • Here's a trick: Daddy placed flat rocks next to each plant. He said that the flat rocks pulled water up and made the tomatoes happy.  I planning to put red plastic mulch down.

  • Once fruit appears, fertilize two weeks prior to first picking and again two weeks after first picking.

  • If using stakes, prune plants by pinching off suckers so that only a couple stems are growing per stake.

  • Practice crop rotation from year to year to prevent diseases that may have over wintered.

Pluck Suckers or Not

  • Suckers are the stems that emerge between the main stalk and branches. The can be plucked or left alone.  It is really a matter of personal preference.  So don't fret over it.  If you leave them they will produce fruit.  If you pluck them the plant will produce more fruit.  Either way production is increased.  I tend to be a plucker.


  • Leave your tomatoes on the vine as long as possible.

  • Tomatoes are ripe when they change color. For best flavor, harvest tomatoes when firm and fully colored. Some cultivars drop their fruits when they are ripe, just pick these up and use them.

  • Some advocate putting green fruit ripe in a paper bag with the stem up and store them in a cool, dark place. Daddy never put them on a windowsill to ripen.  He said that they would rot before they are ripen.

  • Before the first hard frost, pull up the plants with fruit and hang the plant by its roots in the garage.  Enjoy the fruit as they ripen.

  • To preserve the garden-fresh-picked flavor, do not store them in the refridge.  Store at room temperature because cool temperatures cause them to lose flavor and textures.

  • It is possible to freeze raw tomatoes.  They may be frozen with or without their skins. Frozen tomatoes are best used in cooked foods such as soups, sauces and stews. Sorry can't slice them for a sandwich.

Links to more, in-depth Tomato Growing Guides:

Home Page Gardening Lubbock Beagles Contact Us

Copyright © 2007-2015   All rights reserved.                  Privacy Policy
We do not attest to the accuracy of the information given on links to external sites.  Any trademarks are the property of their respective owners.