Skip to main content

Why is a Monster Tomato Plant Taking Over My Houston Garden?

My grandpa loved gardening. I learned much from him. To this day I enjoy puttering around in our garden, growing plants for beauty and food.

My mother is standing next to the gargantuan tomato plant giving some perspective as to the height and girth of this tomato plant.

My mother is standing next to the gargantuan tomato plant giving some perspective as to the height and girth of this tomato plant.

Growing Tomatoes

A gargantuan tomato plant is in our yard producing few tomatoes. This monster tomato plant is taller than my mother and even grew taller than my husband!

A luscious vine ripened tomato can't be beat for flavor and versatility in cooking. We regularly purchase them in grocery stores in every size, shape and degree of ripeness. We also purchase them canned for use in preparing different and assorted dishes.

Who doesn't have things like ketchup or salsa's made with tomatoes in their refrigerator for adding instant garnishes to other preparations? Tomato in one form or another is considered a staple pantry ingredient for most people that I know.

So why have I had a hard time growing tomatoes in Houston? Let me digress for a moment.

Old family photo

Old family photo

Growing Up

As a child I watched my grandfather grow almost every type of vegetable in his large gardens. My grandmother and my mother would freeze and primarily use canning methods to preserve all the excess of what could not be readily eaten.

My dad had built a wonderful array of shelving in the basement of our house one room of which was partitioned off (also as the laundry room) to hold all of these beautiful glass jars filled with that seasons tomatoes, homemade dill pickles, mustard pickles, applesauce, green beans, beets, peas, sauerkraut and more. The root cellar held the potatoes and carrots in a cool, moist and darkened area so that they did not have to be canned. The shelves also held homemade preserves.

Often these two women would have worked really hard preserving these tasty and healthful vegetables during the harvesting season when my grandmother would spot my grandfather coming in with another wheelbarrow filled with some other harvested crop. "Oh no, here he comes again!" would be the tired remark from one to the other.

Gardening became a hobby for my grandfather and after he retired his garden expanded. This was in Wisconsin and as we lived nearby much of what we consumed all year long came from that bountiful garden. So you see I was introduced to this idea of growing tomatoes and other vegetables early on in my life.

My husband's and my home in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin

My husband's and my home in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin

When my husband was transferred to central Wisconsin for four years this was my chance to branch out and have my very first vegetable garden of my own.

We lived on a 1/2 acre lot so there was plenty of room and our garden grew into a thing of beauty producing not only vegetables but flowers as well. My grandfather always commingled flowers with his veggies too.

I am standing in my Wisconsin garden back in the 1970s

I am standing in my Wisconsin garden back in the 1970s

Gardening for Dummies

The "dummy" was me! Not knowing exactly what I was doing the first year I planted 43 tomato plants. Yes you read that right. 43 tomato plants! There was just the two of us. All of the 43 tomato plants produced a bumper crop from each and every plant!

We both like tomatoes but for those of you who garden and know anything about what one plant can produce...needless to say I learned how to can tomatoes that summer.

Ever since moving back to Texas I have tried my hand at growing tomatoes and with fond memories of the days in Wisconsin I have high hopes of being rewarded with luscious, fragrant and tasty red ripened globes of succulence. Occasionally we harvest a few tomatoes but I have had much better luck with green peppers, eggplants and herbs rather than tomatoes.

We have two growing seasons in Houston, spring and fall. Once the summer heat sets in (which seems to come earlier every year) the tomatoes sizzle out and cease production.

Scroll to Continue

This year once again with high hopes I purchased just 4 tomato plants. My husband chides me each year saying "Why bother? With the luck you seem to have, it is cheaper to purchase them in grocery stores." But I retain dreams each year of a better result.

I planted each in a different location experimenting with what might do well this year. The one pictured at the top of this article was planted in a bed near the house next to a camellia plant as well as some small azalea plants, begonias and caladiums.

This is a spot in the garden that gets a little more sun and I just thought that I would give it a try. You can see the results! A gargantuan plant that is totally taking over the space and it only produced a handful of tomatoes and most of them were pecked by birds prior to ever ripening. It is so large that I had my mother pose next to it so that you could appreciate the true size of it. Also the birdhouse above it is attached to the soffit just under the roof. So that also lets you see the dimension of the tomato plant.

Can you guess my husband's response to this trial effort? I'll just bet that you can!

Do I Continue To Try To Grow Tomatoes?

Good question!

You now know the results of this one tomato plant. I have three others. One is a spindly thing that is still deciding whether to live or die. It has not put out a single bloom and we all know we need to see some flowering before any fruit can set.

Another one was the very last cherry tomato plant that the nursery had for sale the day that we were shopping. It was almost totally uprooted. I mentioned to the nursery person that I did not know if it was worth paying the $1.29 price because it already looked more dead than alive. She agreed and as she was the manager she told me to take it and "give it a try" and she let me have that one for free.

It is still alive and finally decided to live instead of die. It is planted in nutrient rich soil with built in fertilizers (Miracle Grow for those familiar with that name) and it is now about a foot tall and producing a few blooms. Yippee!

The cherry tomato plant that decided to live.

The cherry tomato plant that decided to live.

The other plant is healthy looking and is a Roma tomato with green tomatoes hanging on the vine! Will we harvest them prior to the birds finding them?

I could purchase netting (another expense!) and drape it but I must confess something. This plant was also placed in a bed with roses and flowers in front of our everyday dining area. While it is not as large as the gargantuan tomato plant it is blocking the scenery of much of the yard that my husband used to enjoy viewing while sitting there. If I add netting over it making the tomato plant look even more unattractive even if we harvest a few tomatoes off of it just how happy do you think that will make my husband?

Roma tomato plant in our backyard is looking good at this point.

Roma tomato plant in our backyard is looking good at this point.

That gargantuan tomato plant (it is a Jet Star for those who are interested) has been cut back to about a foot from the ground. I could no longer tolerate its menacing presence. The birds were having to file flight plans just to navigate in and out of their birdhouse!

I figure if it survives this summer heat I just may try and transplant it to another location in the fall which is actually a better growing season down here anyway. It will be further from the birdhouse which is always occupied with a revolving number of tenants and it will no longer obliterate our view of the landscape bed filled with pretty flowers and shrubs.

This is the culprit

This is the culprit

If we do not get at least $1.29 worth of tomato harvest from each of these plants this year I just may throw in the towel for good and let others raise the tomatoes that we consume.

I have recently read about proper pruning techniques regarding the harvesting of better plumper tomatoes.

Decision Time!

Should I try again? Three questions go into this decision making process...

#1...Why was my gargantuan tomato plant overtaking our yard?

#2...Do I make my husband happy and start buying our tomatoes in grocery stores?

#3...Should I purchase some books about growing tomatoes before I make another try at it?

I just wanted to grow tomatoes that looked like this!

I just wanted to grow tomatoes that looked like this!

Perhaps I Should Give This a Try?

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2009 Peggy Woods

Comments are welcomed.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 22, 2016:

Greetings Gillian,

Thanks for your advice. Did you make your own tea compost or purchase it? Was the molasses the same kind you would use in baking or cooking? Just curious. The next time I go to a nursery I'll look for those.

Gillian on September 21, 2016:

To much nitrogen when they start to get any blooms grows green not fruit.

I used a liquid organic compost tea concentrate mixed with water also the she application of liquid molasses. My garden exploded.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on February 29, 2016:

Hi Mary,

You certainly may link your article to mine. I will do the same with yours. My hubby has convinced me to just grow other more successful things in our garden. Ha!

Mary Hyatt from Florida on July 29, 2015:

As I said in my earlier comment, I planted three tomatoes for a total cost of $50.00 for the one tomato I harvested ( it was not edible).

May I link this Hub into "My $50.00 Tomato?"

Oh, I'm sharing this one again for all those folks who enjoy plantng tomatoes!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 08, 2015:

Hi Mary,

I am just about in the same boat as you are with regard to having good luck with almost everything else except tomatoes. I did not even attempt growing them this year. Thanks for the share.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 08, 2015:

Hi poetryman6969,

This was a number of years ago and I have had limited success with growing tomatoes since that time. This year I did not plant any and rather concentrated on my herbs, etc. The drought in California is terrible by all accounts. Best wishes! Hope it rains!!!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 08, 2015:

Hi Audrey,

As I mentioned to Au fait, we had much better luck growing them in Wisconsin than we do here in Houston. They were also more flavorful up there. I think they matured slower and developed richer flavors. In the blistering heat, the skins of tomatoes also get tougher down here. I have just about given up trying.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 08, 2015:

Hi Au fait,

It was much easier growing tomatoes in Wisconsin compared to the luck I have had in Houston. The weather is a factor as well as the bugs. Where we live now, getting enough direct sunlight is also a consideration since we have so many shade trees. Where that huge tomato plant grew in the bed, I think it got too much fertilizer from the surrounding plants and it all went into growth of the plant as compared to producing fruit. Getting them from farmer's markets is a good idea.

We have my mother's dog (now ours) and now just one cat since we had to have Dusty put to sleep. I have read Mary's article with interest. Skippy does pretty well with thunderstorms. Thanks!

Mary Hyatt from Florida on July 07, 2015:

I always thought I could grow anything, but I have NO luck with tomatoes. Everyone I know grow them. I planted three this year. They grew fairly fast, and bloomed. Then the leaves began to curl and no tomatoes appeared. I give up!

Wonder if you tried them this year??

Voted this UP and shared.

poetryman6969 on July 07, 2015:

When we lived close to a lake and a nature trail the bugs ate everything I planted. Now that I am in California I will probably not plant anything due to the drought. Good luck with your tomatoes!

Audrey Howitt from California on July 07, 2015:

There is just something about fresh tomatoes--we keep trying out here in CA, but get nothing like yours

C E Clark from North Texas on July 07, 2015:

You could try farm markets instead of the grocery store so your tomatoes will be grown locally and you may even know what poison they sprayed on it to kill the bugs, etc.

I'm wondering why it's so hard for you to grow tomato plants. My mother grew about 50 such plants in her garden every year with no problem. Do you mess with them a lot? They do sometimes need sticks next to their stem/trunk and to be tied to those sticks to help support all the weight from the tomatoes. Smaller plants might do better with less height to be exposed to the elements.

My mother kept her plants weed free and watered, and otherwise I'm unaware of anything special she did. In the early spring they had to be protected from the freezes and the cut worms. She often checked them for those horrible fat worms. Rather than spray the plants she would remove the worm. I think our tomato plants were about 18" high.

Was surprised to discover I hadn't read his article before. Voting this up and interesting. Pinning to Awesome HubPages and sharing with followers. Wishing you luck no matter what you decide to do regarding another try, etc.

Well, I was thinking too, about your pets and their fear of fireworks and probably thunder as well. Have you read Mary615's article about "How the Thundershirt Calms My Miniature Schnauzer, etc.? She says they do wonders to calm her dog. Of course I don't know for a certainty you're referring to your dogs. I knew you had cats, but I'm not sure about dogs . . .

Anyway, if you have dogs and haven't already checked out Mary's hub, it may be helpful.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 01, 2013:

Hello DVD,

That is wonderful that you are having so much success with growing tomatoes in Houston. I have already planted a variety of them in the ground and am trying different types of heirloom varieties this year along with cherry and grape tomato varieties. Will have to consider grow bags for the future. I am assuming these are different from those upside down growing bags? Thanks for your comment!

DVD on May 31, 2013:

I must post my success...has taken me almost 7 years to learn to grow tomatoes in Houston (used to CT weather!). This year I can't give them away fast enough even with the birds taking some bites. Switched from raised bed to Grow them...seems to both keep the plants from drying out too fast (like clay pots) while also great drainage/air movement so no rot. Nice wide bottoms so plenty of room for the roots. Started my plants the end of December so could have good sized plants outside by March and so got several weeks of cool evenings...essential for the flowers to set. Did throw some bird netting over them once the tomatoes started to ripen but the birds and squirrels can still reach through and snack on some of the outer ones...birds seem to especially like the cherry tomatoes. My Early Girl, Big Boy and Celebrity are doing the best. Early Girl was true to name, ripening a good 2-3 weeks before the others. Do strongly suggest plucking them before fully red...just too tempting to other critters and will finish ripening in a couple of days inside.** Important to provide grow light that can be raised/lowered for your starters..keep light within a few inches of plant to prevent getting gangly.**

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 02, 2013:

Hi moonlake,

I just couldn't help myself. I planted an heirloom tomato in that same garden bed this year. Hopefully it won't grow as tall to obscure the view. I still have tomatoes producing in another part of the yard from last year. We simply covered them a few times when we had predicted frosts or light freezes. Same with my green pepper plant. Have planted some new swiss chard and I have to replace our parsley. It is bolting and going to seed. Thanks for the up vote and the share.

moonlake from America on April 01, 2013:

What a tomato plant I have to try that one in our garden this year. We may not have a long enough growing season for it. Enjoyed your hub voted up and shared.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 14, 2012:

Hello sleepylog,

The tomato plant that I wrote about is long gone and I had a very successful cherry tomato crop this past year. Will keep your advice in mind for the future if such a case ever develops again. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

Sleepylog from Australia on December 12, 2012:

With so many leaves it sounds like you soil is high in nitrogen, which is great when tomatoes are first growing to help them get lots of nice green foliage. However at the first sign of flowers, you should give your tomato plants some carbon based fertiliser or brown garden clippings like leaves and grass that have dried out. Don't give them the green stuff as that is full of nitrogen. Once they're brown, they'll be releasing carbon.

Also you might want to prune the plants to allow sunlight to reach the fruit hidden under the leaves. I've written a hub all about it if you want to read it. Good luck and let me know how it all goes.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 21, 2012:

Hi Wayne,

I got a kick out of your statement: "To see tomatoes growing that high in Texas is liking witnessing an ice storm inside the gates of hell! LOL!" Funny! My cherry tomato plants are taller than our 6 foot wooden fence this year! I have staked them up as tall as the stakes I have and they will just have to droop down from there. Every year it is a different experience with growing tomatoes in Texas! Sorry about yours this time. Maybe next time you will have success. Here's hoping! :) Thanks for your comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 21, 2012:

Hi sgbrown,

Sounds like you will be getting a bumper crop this year from your tomato plants. That is great. I am also having luck this year. I purchased 1 cherry tomato plant and 1 patio tomato plant. Had several other tomato plants coming up from seed from our compost pile so transplanted them. They appear to be cherry tomatoes. Every day I go out and pick a handful of them and are truly enjoying them in all sorts of creations in addition to just eating them as a snack. So this year is a GREAT year for tomatoes from my perspective! :)) Thanks for your comment, vote and especially the share.

Wayne Brown from Texas on June 21, 2012:

Wow...some tomato plant! Especially for Texas! I have two on the patio which I am watching die a slow painful death plus the birds, bugs, and squirrels, eat what little they bear before we can get to it. If I water they die; if I don't water they die. To see tomatoes growing that high in Texas is liking witnessing an ice storm inside the gates of hell! LOL! Thanks for sharing. WB

Sheila Brown from Southern Oklahoma on June 21, 2012:

That is one big tomato plant! We planted 10 tomato plants this year and I have 2 that are going crazy like yours. The only thing I can think of is that they get more afternoon shade than the others. It is covered in tomatoes and they are getting as big as softballs and still green! I am getting some ripe tomatoes from other plants now, but they are not as big and they are the same kind of tomato. Great hub, love all the information. Voted up and sharing! Have a great day! :)

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 16, 2012:

Hi KoffeeKlatch Gals,

That was another garden and time when I planted 43 tomato plants. I learned that unless one is growing them for commercial purposes...that is probably too many for just two people to consume. Haha! Thanks for the comment on this hub. I got to see my mother's smiling face once again. That was certainly a super sized tomato plant!

Susan Hazelton from Northern New York on March 16, 2012:

That is one huge tomato plant. It gives me hope for mine. If they could grow to half that size I would have enough tomatoes for family, friends and neighbors. I can't believe you planted 43 tomato plants - it sounds like something I would do.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 15, 2011:

Hello wesley t black,

Wow! Wish that I could have seen that tomato plant. 200 tomatoes off of one plant has to be some kind of record! Thanks for commenting on this hub.

wesley t black,,,grant alabama on October 15, 2011:

that aint nothin...i got a tomatoe plant so big it took over half our deck...about 12 feet by 10 feet...i couldnt even tie it up anymore...if ya could stand it up it would be at least 12 feet tall...its a better boy...its gettin cold now so i robbed all the tomato off of it green or about 200 or plant

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 10, 2011:

Hi hanna,

I'm not currently growing tomato plants this year, but if I decide to try it again, I'll remember your advice. Thanks! My herbs are doing very well this year!

hanna on July 10, 2011:

putting ribbons on your tomato plants might keep away the birds

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 21, 2011:

Hi SweetiePie,

The foliage was nice, but actually a few more tomatoes would have even been better. Ha! Wishing you luck with your container planting of tomatoes!

SweetiePie from Southern California, USA on June 21, 2011:

I love that giant tomato plant! I have a small container garden with tomatoes, all the space I have, so I will see how I do. The joy of seeing their foliage is worth it I think.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 11, 2009:

Hi EverythingMouse,

That gargantuan tomato plant is no longer a part of our landscape. Since it was right under the birdhouse, you might guess who got most of those tomatoes! Our cherry tomato is just now starting to produce and our Roma tomato did a good job of producing.

Good luck with yours. What varieties did you plant?

EverythingMouse on August 11, 2009:

Wow that is some tomato plant! We started growing our own this year and we are just starting to harvest them. It is interesting to see how different all the varieties taste.

marilea on July 09, 2009:

well kiddo----you saw my next to caput plants with fruit----since then----adios they're bye-bye ,but you know me never quit ----we'll beat the odds----hugs,m.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 08, 2009:

Hello Ashley Joy,

With all the good comments on this hub perhaps we can learn a few things on how to improve our plants. Good luck with yours and thanks for the comment. That is sure one cute baby with the photo on your avatar!

Ashley Joy on July 08, 2009:

I am so jealous! My tomato plants are small and the small fruits that are on them only weigh it down. It is pretty sad looking really.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 07, 2009:

Hello mistyhorizon and welcome! Thanks for all of your good advice. A gallon of water a day! Guess they eat and drink a lot to produce those bumper crops of tomatoes. You must have large pots! Thanks for your comments.

Cindy Lawson from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on July 07, 2009:

Whoops, duplicate comment, seemed to be taking far too long to post so submitted again. Sorry :)

Cindy Lawson from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on July 07, 2009:

Great hub. I grow outdoor tomatoes every year in pots. My tips are:

1) Always remember to remove the sideshoots that appear where the leaves meet the stem, (otherwise the plant puts all it's energy into foliage rather than fruit). Support plants with canes.

2) Water daily with at least a gallon of water per plant.

3) Feed weekly, or mix slow release plant food granules with the compost.

4) Ensure plants receive plenty of sunlight throughout the day.

Follow these tips and you should get a bumper crop of tomatoes every year.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 07, 2009:

Hello again dllhubpages, Thanks for telling me what you do. Will give it a try and see if I can't keep them alive.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 07, 2009:

Hello Robubba, Thanks for your good advice. Will make sure that the correct fertilizer is used. I did put Miracle Grow soil under the plants when they were first planted, but I think that the big one robbed some of the nearby azalea and camellia fertilizer and just went crazy with it. Have cut it back now and am thinking of transplanting it to a new spot...or just start over in the Fall with a new one (different spot). Thanks for leaving your comment. Always nice to see a new face in the comment section!

dllhubpages from Southeastern US on July 06, 2009:

We have always just keep the plants well watered during the heat of the summer and then they will start to produce tomatoes when the temps cool down some.

Robubba on July 06, 2009:

Soils that are really rich will cause too much green growth, and inhibit the formation of the actual fruit.  A similar thing happens to sugar cane, making it less sweet, and taller. just don't fertilize your large tomato plant with any nitrates. Stick with the mineral and phosphate fertilizers.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 06, 2009:

Hi Rochelle,

I purchased 4 plants this year and the one in a lone location is doing poorly. The other 3 that are in near proximity to one another are thriving.

We are in a drought situation (after the earlier flood!) but our sprinkler system is set to go off daily at this water is not an issue. But our hotter than normal heat...100 degree temperatures is not good.

The Roma tomato plant is now bearing lots of fruit...not ripened yet...but looking good.

Thanks for your comment. Enjoy your tomatoes this year!

Rochelle Frank from California Gold Country on July 06, 2009:

When we bought a house in a So-Cal suburb, we had a huge lot-- everyone gave us tomato plants-- we truly had an overabundant crop. My kids tomatoed all of the neighbors-- sold or donated them, while I canned them as fast as I could.

Now at a higher elevation in a rural area, my tomatoes are just now starting to ripen-- My husband who was tired of seeing plants disappear because of gophers, put some in pots in the ground.

 The plants are smaller-- but starting to produce ripening fruit. Love tomatoes!

Your plant looks healthy. They like heat AND lots of water at the root.  Do you just have one plant? I'm not sure if they need cross pollinating.... maybe?

 I have always had several plants at a time.


Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 06, 2009:

Hi frogyfish,

Thanks for the encouragement. I definitely need to do some pruning and I have learned so much from your comment and those of others. Thanks!

When I had 43 tomato plants, pruning, etc. was not so necessary to know. LOL

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 06, 2009:

Greetings lovemyself, Thanks for reading and commenting. Many people, it seems, like tomatoes. LOL

frogyfish from Central United States of America on July 06, 2009:

Peggy W, keep trying, don't give it up! Maybe...? Try different named tomato, including yellow ones. Use LOW nitrogen feritlizer. Plant in full sun. Pinch off the tiny new sprouts that start in the large branches.

My mom had a huge tomato plant like yours last year, but it had lots of golf ball sized tomatoes. You CAN do it too. :-) Thanks for fun hub!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 06, 2009:

Hello dllhubpages, Thanks for the good advice. I knew that about the planting. Do you baby them through the hot summers and then they again start producing in the Fall or do you start over with new ones? Most of the people I know just buy new ones for the Fall season. Thanks for leaving your comment.

lovemyself on July 06, 2009:

Wow, very large tomato plants! You planted great! I would also like tomato

dllhubpages from Southeastern US on July 06, 2009:

43 tomato plants LOL, I know you were busy. I have lived in the south my entire life and Mardi's advice is good. We always bury the new plants deep leaving only the top set of leaves above the ground. They will then develop lots of roots all along the buried stem. While tomato production slows when it gets really hot, we always have lots of tomatoes.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 06, 2009:

Hi Nicole, Maybe I should invest in a machete! Ha! Thanks for your comment.

Nicole A. Winter from Chicago, IL on July 06, 2009:

Awesome hub, Peggy W: that plant is huge! Like others have said, there has to be a happy medium... massive attack of the pruning shears, perhaps? I really enjoyed reading this, thanks for publishing it!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 06, 2009:

Hey Candie, I loved the movie "Green Fried Tomatoes" and have you ever eaten green fried ones? They are delicious! I like them coated with flour instead of cornmeal. Yum! Might just fry some up today! And the fact that you "generally" like are a nice person. The birds cannot all be colorful like cardinals and bluejays. Just like people I guess... LOL

Candie V from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure! on July 06, 2009:

I've never had green tomato salsa, but I like the movie "Fried Green Tomatoes"!! Does that count? And I generally like sparrows.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 05, 2009:

Hi Kari, I agree! LOL Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

Kari Poulsen from Ohio on July 05, 2009:

LOL, That was the biggest tomato plant I had ever seen! There must be some way to find a happy medium. Good Luck!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 05, 2009:

Funny Candie! I think the green tomatoes were pecked by sparrows if that clears up the description of the problem for you. don't like green salsa?

Candie V from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure! on July 05, 2009:

peggy - is that green bird-pecked tomatoes or green-bird pecked tomatoes? Please leave these out of the salsa.. if I may make a special request!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 05, 2009:

Hello fortunerep (or Dori), Nothing to be jealous of YET. So far only a couple of green bird pecked tomatoes. LOL

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 05, 2009:

Hi Candie, Have never seen that movie but probably should in case these in our yard are getting any ideas. I'll put you on the list for salsa. LOL

Dori S Matte from Hillsborough on July 05, 2009:

I am so jealous!!


Candie V from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure! on July 05, 2009:

Have you ever seen the (and one of my faves) movie "Attack of the Killer Tomatoes"? I think you're breeding them! LOL!! Send me some salsa if you have extra!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 05, 2009:

Hi Mardi,

Lots of good advice from you! Thanks! The reason that I tried sticking a few tomato plants in our beds near the house is for the hours of sunshine factor. We have lots of old large oak trees in our yard and our neighbor's yards and shade is what we battle with regard to gardening vegetables. The herbs (for the most part) seem to do OK but it is more difficult growing vegetables without the necessary sunlight.

I really do miss the days of being able to grow a large vegetable garden! That was fun and rewarding.

I think that the weather has compromised the growing in Houston this year. We had that flood that I wrote about and since then, except for a few scattered drops of rain (NONE here!) it has been in the upper 90's and topping the 100 degree mark for so long a time now...have broken several records...and the yards and plants are showing the stress.

Even my zucchini are not flourishing and you KNOW how zuchinni normally grow!

When the Fall tomatoes are sold, I might just try a couple of the varieties you recommended. May try one more new spot and see what happens. Again, thanks for all of your recommendations.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 05, 2009:

Hi Teresa,

I wondered if you would stumble upon this hub. I loved your lost tomato hub so much that when I decided to write this hub about our tomato misadventures, I just had to include it. LOL

We have several good tomato sauce recipes as well. Should we do more recipe hubs? Thanks for your comment. How's the arm?

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 05, 2009:

Hi Kiran,

Best of wishes for growing the tomato in your pot. Always nice to have fresh home grown ones on hand. Thanks for the comment.

Mardi Winder-Adams from Western Canada and Texas on July 05, 2009:


Great hub as always. I learned a few tips from some of the "old-timers" around here about growing tomatoes in hot climates. I am sure they would work in Houston as well.

I use several different types but for the large tomatoes I find Arkansas Traveler, Big Beef or Beefsteak, Homestead and Sunmaster seem to do the best. They need good drainage, which it seems you have, and lots and lots of mulch and organic matter. I dig in hay and compost into my tomato beds over the winter, then mulch the surface about 3 inches deep after planting.

In addition tomatoes need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day according to the Ag Extension folks. They also recommended digging the seedlings in to at least cover the bottom set of leaves to allow the roots to establish themselves. I also add banana peels and coffee grounds to the soil during the winter and when the plants are growing - seems to help and everyone up here does it!

Don't forget you can also plant tomatoes in the late summer in Texas for fall and early winter fresh tomatoes. Take your existing plants and bend a branch down without snapping it off and then cover well with soil and mulch. It will sprout roots and take off on its own!

This year I tried purple tomatoes - they are really unique and beautiful in salads although the crows seem to like them too!

Best of luck!

Sheila from The Other Bangor on July 05, 2009:

I have given up looking for the tomato, and have since enjoyed many more that were given to me from the same source. The thing is to enjoy the tomatoes -- so if you enjoy trying to grow them, that's what matters. Thanks for the mention!

I'm jealous that you know all about canning and preserving. I just know about making pasta sauce!

kiran8 from Mangalore, India on July 05, 2009:

Amazing ! it is growing so well and looks really big and healthy- I have one in my pot , the local variety of round tomatoes...Lovely hub and interesting as laways peggy, thanks a lot :)

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 05, 2009:

Hi Pete,

If you "get a ton of tomatoes" from 2 plants, now you must know WHY I had to quickly learn how to can when I planted 43 tomato plants at one time many years ago. LOL

Pete Maida on July 05, 2009:

My late sister-in-law had a garden full of fruits and vegetables. Since she passed away we haven't done much. This year we planted two tomato plants, two green peppers, and two zucchinis. So far they are coming along. We always get a ton of tomatoes from the plants. We are always looking for people to take them since we have never mastered any of the preserving methods.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 05, 2009:

Hi Ethel,

Hope you get better results! LOL

Ethel Smith from Kingston-Upon-Hull on July 05, 2009:

Wow Peggy what a size lol. I am growing a few tomato plants this year that a colleague gave me. I doubt they will produce much either but we shall see.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 04, 2009:

Hi Melody,

Bet your garden was a wonderful one. Always nice to see things coming up from seed. Thanks for the comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 04, 2009:

Hi katyzzz,

Wonderful skills...perhaps not. About 50-50 on the plant growing, but the results are still out on harvesting any tomatoes. Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment. My mouth is still watering also...LOL

Melody Lagrimas from Philippines on July 04, 2009:

Hahaha, this reminds me of my childhood when I loved sowing tomato seeds on my mom's rose pots. Everyday I checked for the seedlings to appear, then when the plant was about a few inches tall, I'd transfer it to the ground. Nice hub, as ever, Peggy.

katyzzz from Sydney, Australia on July 04, 2009:

Delicious, next time I'm driving past I'll call in, well done Peggy and I'm sure Mary would sympathise with you.

She was just thrilled to bits when her self sown tomato plant brought forth its fruit.

You certainly have some wonderful skills with yours, you made my mouth water. 

Related Articles