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Shade Grown Florida Tomatoes


One of the things I enjoy about gardening and growing fruit is the opportunity to learn new things from other people who do things differently. For years I only grew tomatoes in full sun, but due to the influence of an older gentleman in my community, I decided to try growing some in part shade. The original plan was to grow 1/2 a row of indeterminate cherry, grape, and Campari tomatoes in part shade. The other half of the row in full shade would be planted with peppers. Apparently, an armadillo had other plans. Somehow he managed to destroy all the pepper plants but left the tomatoes almost untouched. Since I had great germination on the tomatoes, I filled in the now vacted pepper spots with transplanted tomatoes. To my great surprise the half in full dapled shade produced just fine. I would estimate about a 20% reduction in yield compared with full sun, but with all the tomatoes that were produced I did not miss them. The canopy also helped protect the plants from frost. Below is a picture of an unidentified "black" (really mahogany) grape tomato growing on the shaded end of the row. To the right is an Everglades tomato that I threw in to finish off the row. You can see the oak trees in the background and the trusses loaded with fruit and blooms (20-40 fruits per truss). My last observation is that full sun plants start fruiting sooner but the shaded plants fruit longer. What has your experience been?


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