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Texas Tomato Lover's Handbook

William D. Adams; Photographs by William D. Adams and Deborah J. Adams

Publication Year: 2011

Perhaps no vegetable makes the mouth water in anticipation more than the perfect tomato--slices sprinkled with salt and pepper or lapped over a burger; sweet cherry tomatoes in a salad; fresh tomato sauce over pasta; tomato soup; tomato salsa. Tired of half-green, hard-but-mushy, store-bought tomatoes, an increasing number of people would like to grow their own. But as anyone who has ever stuck a seedling into the ground anticipating a bush full of luscious homegrown tomatoes in a couple of months knows, it isn’t that easy. Tomatoes require a gardener’s knowledge and attention, and in this handbook William Adams has provided a complete, step-by-step guide to success in the tomato patch. Drawing on more than thirty years of experience, Adams takes readers through the basics of soil preparation, planting, feeding, caging, and watering. He lists the pros and cons of standard, hybrid, heirloom, and cherry varieties, sharing tips about old favorites and suggesting new varieties. After the tomatoes are chosen, planted, and thriving under his tutelage, Adams prepares growers for the insects, diseases, and other visitors they are likely to encounter, warning that “gardeners are not the only ones that love tomatoes.” Once readers are armed to meet these challenges, Adams ends by offering a few words about “tomato kin folk” (peppers, eggplants, tomatillos, and potatoes) and a source list of selected suppliers. With patience, humor, and his own excellent photographs, Adams brings to this manuscript all he has learned about tomatoes in Texas to help ensure that the rest of us have a bumper crop.       

Published by: Texas A&M University Press

Title page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Preface / Map

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pp. vii-2

In the mid-1990s, I launched a Texas Cooperative Extension educational program (now Texas AgriLife Extension Service) called Team Tomato in Harris County (Houston, Texas) with a lot of help from extension staff, including Tom LeRoy, Robert "Skip" Richter, Sam Cotner, Bart Drees, and Jerral Johnson. Volunteers, including George and Mary Stewart, Wendell...

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1. History of the Garden Tomato

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pp. 3-5

Did the tomato come over with an Italian immigrant planning to open a pizza parlor featuring a wonderful tomato sauce? No---the tomato is actually a New World species from the mid- to high-altitude regions of Peru and nearby regions of South America. The tomato wasn't delivered...

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2. Must-Have Tools for the Tomato Patch

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pp. 6-10

The right tools can make tomato production much easier. Instead of using a tiller, consider a good stainless-steel spading fork and a small flat-edged shovel. For moving compost around, you need a hay fork. Trowels are an absolute necessity---the long-handled kind can save you a bit of...

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3. A Recipe for the Perfect Tomato Crop: Basic Cultural Needs

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pp. 11-46

The homegrown tomato must have outstanding flavor. The texture should be firm, not hard, and never grainy or mushy. Tomatoes should be juicy with zingy tartness and complex, sweet tomato flavors. Anything less is unacceptable and should never be considered regardless of other traits the variety may possess, including disease resistance, health and...

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4. Tending the Tomato Patch

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pp. 47-79

Always buy the healthiest plants you can find. Plants that are a bit tall can be used by laying the stem down in a trench. However, plants that look sick with a mosaic pattern to the foliage or shoestringlike tips may have been infected with a virus and are not a bargain even if they are free. Plants don't...

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5. Tomato Varieties

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pp. 80-122

The numbers in parentheses in the following lists refer to sources in the Tomato Source List near the end of the book. Hybrid Varieties---Medium to Large Fruit This list usually begins and sometimes ends with the 1984 All-America Selection (AAS) variety Celebrity. The author is not a big fan of Celebrity at the table, but it sure beats most grocery store tomatoes hands down...

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6. Insects, Diseases, Weeds, and Varmints: Tomato Pests

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pp. 123-156

Gardeners are not the only ones who love tomatoes. Insects and critters love the tomato's juicy sweetness, diseases thrive on the nutrient-rich plants, and weeds flourish in the high fertility of the soil where tomatoes grow. In a good year, when spring rains don't fall too frequently and you plant early to avoid the leaf-footed bugs, you will likely harvest a good...

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7. Tomato Relatives

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pp. 157-171

It would be a rare tomato lover who didn't enjoy some of the tomato kinfolk---peppers, eggplants, tomatillos, and potatoes are the most obvious. The tomato also has some "black sheep" relatives like bull nettle and the many solanaceous weeds that plague our pastures and cattle lots. Suffice it to say that there are toxins in even...

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8. Tomato Source List

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pp. 172-178

This list is not meant to imply any endorsement either by inclusion or exclusion. No doubt, there are many sources for tomato seeds and plants---not the least of which is a local nursery. Today it is common to find the uncommon in local nurseries. Folks like to plant heirlooms as well as the latest and greatest hybrids. For many tomatophiles, growing...

Index

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pp. 179-192


E-ISBN-13: 9781603442404
E-ISBN-10: 1603442405
Print-ISBN-13: 9781603442398
Print-ISBN-10: 1603442391

Page Count: 192
Illustrations: 183 color photos. 3 maps. Line art. Index.
Publication Year: 2011

Series Title: AgriLife Research and Extension Service Series

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Subject Headings

  • Tomatoes -- Diseases and pests -- Control -- Handbooks, manuals, etc.
  • Tomatoes -- Texas -- Handbooks, manuals, etc.
  • Tomatoes -- Breeding -- Handbooks, manuals, etc.
  • Tomatoes -- Texas -- Pictorial works.
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