March is here and that means The FarmGirls will be stepping it up.  

Every day is a new and exciting adventure as spring approaches.  Donelle has been darting around Dallas installing and planting gardens with her garden coaching clients. The FarmGirls divide and conquer as we teach classes on gardening, essential oils, herbal tea gardening and tea blends, eating healthy in-season vegetables, 6 week gardening classes and so much more really great garden education experiences.

The green house tomatoes are thriving and we are bumping tiny seedlings from their small pots up to gallon containers.  As we bump up to the larger pots, we use additional amendments to insure strong healthy tomato plants.  

Those amendments are a handful of each, worm castings, soft rock phosphate and Rabbit Hill Farm Tomato and Pepper Food.  

Tomatoes set blooms between 55 degrees and 91 degrees. In North Central Texas this can be a short window of time to plant and insure bloom set.  

Tomatoes are planted after the danger of frost and freezes and ideally before the extreme heat.  We typically recommend planting tomatoes around Good Friday.   

To ensure blooms and fruiting we grow the tomato larger in the greenhouse with the additional amendments, mentioned above.  

Then when we plant tomatoes in the garden, we amend the holes with soft rock phosphate, worm castings, Epsom salt and some crushed eggshells.  We plant wet to wet method using Maxi Crop Seaweed.

We then cage our tomatoes, mulch the ground and wrap the tomato cage with frost cloth or a fabric that allows air flow such as burlap.  

Why do we go to so much trouble to plant tomatoes?  Tomatoes are susceptible to air borne and soil- borne diseases.  Hybrid tomatoes such as celebrity are hybridized to be resistant to many diseases.  Though the hybridized tomatoes have proven to allow more success, our fluctuating and extreme weather patterns combined with our clay soil and caliche soil negates the need for stronger, sturdier tomato plants.   

Tomatoes are high feeders.

There may be a solution to the tomato gardener’s dilemma.  We are excited to tell you about Mighty Matos.  

This is a grafted tomato.  The root of the grafted tomato is a “wild tomato root” and very resistant to disease.  

We have had some great reports from gardening friends that have had success with grafted tomatoes.  Lucy Harrell boast of the longevity the grafted tomato stayed in her Houston garden and remained disease free and produced in abundance.     

A local master gardener grew these beauties last year and plans to plant Mighty Matos again and was very impressed with the tomato harvest and the resistance they maintained to disease.  

We planted Mighty Matos in August and had no disease or yellow leaves and the tomatoes were loaded with fruit, unfortunately an early freeze took ours out but we still harvested many green fruit and ripened them indoors.    Mighty Matos are grafted in Oregon.  

We have ordered several varieties of tomatoes such as Arkansas Traveler’s, Cherokee Purple, Black Krim and more of gardener’s favorite varieties.  Check out our web-site for more information on varieties available.

Mighty Matos to the rescue of Texas gardeners!  The FarmGirls are hoping this is our tomato ticket to more success!

FarmGirls of Garden Inspirations, a garden education company are Marilyn Simmons and daughter, Donelle Simmons.  You can email us at farmgirls@gardeninspirations-tx.com and join our weekly email by signing up through our website: www.gardeninspirations-tx.com, like us on Facebook!  Tune in every Friday at 1 p.m. to the FarmGirls Organic Radio Show on KAAM 770 AM.