Tomatoes are a warm-weather crop and are ideal for planting in Florida during the early months of spring and winter. Tomatoes are a popular vegetable among gardeners mainly because they are easy to grow and adapt well to almost any climate and soil condition. There are nearly as many types of tomato as there are ways to use them. Plant several different varieties in your garden to benefit from their versatility.
A good choice for beginner gardeners, the Better Boy, produces a high crop yield. Well-suited for the warm Florida weather, Better Boys thrive in full sun and in well-drained, nutrient-rich soil. Keep soil moist by watering plants regularly, especially during the warmer days of the Florida summer. Better Boy tomato plants are a vine and should be staked or caged. Tomatoes are ready to harvest in approximately 75 days after planting. Fruit will be large, sometimes weighing more than 1 lb., deep red in color and meaty in texture. Use Better Boys for slicing, or dice and use in fresh salsas.
Considered the best tomato for sauces, the Roma is a paste tomato that will thrive in the warm climate of Florida. Plant your Roma tomatoes in a well-drained soil that is rich in organic material. The Roma tomato plant requires at least 6 to 8 hours of full sun exposure each day. Stake plants once they have reached 6 to 12 inches in height. Water Roma tomato plants once a week, more often during the hot Florida summer. Roma's are firm, plum-shaped tomatoes that are ripe for picking when they are completely red from top to bottom. Your Roma tomatoes will be ready for harvest about 70 days after planting.
Well-adapted to the hot, humid air of the South, the Flora-Dade is an ideal choice for Florida gardeners. Flora-Dade tomatoes are medium-sized, weighing 5 to 7 oz. and are globe-shaped. The skin is red and smooth and the fruit is firm. Plant in areas of full sun and in well-drained soils rich in organic material. As the Florida days become warmer, water your plants at least once a week. Flora-Dade tomatoes ripen about 78 days after planting. Use your fresh tomatoes for slicing, quarter them for salads or dice and use as toppings for egg dishes and tacos.
A favorite of growers in warm climate zones, the Celebrity is a good match for the warm, humid Florida weather. It is said to do especially well in the Jacksonville area but thrives in other parts of the state. Plant your Celebrity tomato plants where they'll have full sun exposure and place them in soil that is rich, moist and well-drained. Keep plants well-watered, the soil should stay moist once the Florida heat intensifies. The Celebrity tomato will be firm, round, deep red in color and weigh about 7 to 10 oz. Celebrity plants will be ready to harvest 70 days after planting. Serve the Celebrity sliced or as a garnish for other food dishes.