The extreme heat during much of the growing season can make raising tomato plants in Louisiana very difficult. The high temperatures can cause irregular flower development, which stunts the amount of fruit the plants produce. By following some specialized care instructions, you can eliminate most of the problems associated with high summer temperatures. Tomatoes in Louisiana need to be kept cool and hydrated at all times. Fertilizers give them the boost they need to thrive.
Select tomato plant varieties that are engineered to grow well in Louisiana. Your local garden center employees should be able to give you advice on what grows especially well in your area, but common types include Sun Leaper, Solar Set and Florida 91.
Find a spot in the garden bed that receives full sun about eight hours per day. Tomatoes that do not get enough sunlight won't produce as much fruit.
Use a hand tiller to work the top 6 inches of soil, fluffing it up and removing any rocks, stray roots and other debris. Sprinkle a 2-inch-deep layer of compost onto the tilled soil and use the hand tiller to mix the two.
Add a single dose of granular fertilizer to the soil and mix it in. It's important not to over-fertilize the soil at first; you can always add more later in the growing season, if necessary.
Dig 6-inch-deep holes (spaced 12 to 18 inches apart) in the prepared garden bed. Slide an individual tomato seedling into each hole and fill in the hole with soil. You'll be planting the tomato plants about 2 to 3 inches deeper than usual, but the extra soil cover will protect the Louisiana tomato plants' delicate roots from the heat.
Treat each seedling with a dose of liquid fertilizer, following the instructions on the bottle. Cover the garden bed with a 2- to 3-inch-thick layer of light-colored wood mulch.
Water the tomato plants in the mornings, drenching the soil without leaving puddles of standing water on the garden bed's surface. Watering early in the day allows the ground to absorb as much moisture as possible before the heat causes the excess to evaporate.
Give the tomato plants another dose of liquid fertilizer about every four weeks.