Tomatoes in the Tropics

Discussion in 'EDIBLES AND SUSTAINIBILITY' started by Dypsisdean, Sep 6, 2011.

  1. Dypsisdean

    Dypsisdean Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    13,862
    Location:
    Big Island of Hawaii - Kona
    I wish someone could tell me a way to grow a good tomato in the tropics. I would give it a try, but since I have never had a good tomato (compared to homegrown SoCal) in Hawaii, I assume it can't be done. Someone please tell me I am wrong.
     
  2. junglegal

    junglegal Esteemed Member

    Messages:
    3,135
    Location:
    St. Pete FL
    Dean,

    Have you tried any of the heat resistant varieties? Black Krim, jubilee, sun maker etc? I would think disease is your biggest foe with your year round humidity. Cherry tomatoes may do better. Matt's wild cherry or everglades variety? I'd think these two could possibly become a tasty invasive though. none the less, Matt's wild is better than hogs wild.
     
  3. Dypsisdean

    Dypsisdean Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    13,862
    Location:
    Big Island of Hawaii - Kona
    To be honest Bren, I haven't tried any of them. The word of mouth has me giving up before I even start. They do grow some here, but they grow them under plastic - not to add heat, but to keep the rain off. But they taste and have the consistency of cardboard. But it may be that they pick them too early like they do most all supermarket tomatoes. If someone could assure me that I would have a chance, I would give it a go. I used to grow them every year in SoCal.

    And re: cherry tomatoes. I could never really get excited about cherry or pear tomatoes in my sandwiches. I guess I just got spoiled by big luscious soft flavorful Beefsteaks. :)
     
  4. amazondk

    amazondk Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,404
    Dean,

    If it is hard there it is worse here. A few years ago I went up river from the Brazilian border to Iquitos, Peru. At a stop on the river I bought some regional tomatoes as they called them. They were quite good. I brought the seeds back and they did ok. But, I lost them unfortunately. Here in Amazonas they call them cats paw tomatoes as they look like a cats paw. I wish I could find some more of them. Chrerry tomatoes do well here. But, they do not make great sandwiches. Over on the mouth of the Amazon the Japanese graft tomatoes on a relative the Jurubeba and from what I hear get good results. But, it is bit of work to do the process.

    dk
     
  5. Dypsisdean

    Dypsisdean Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    13,862
    Location:
    Big Island of Hawaii - Kona
    Hmmmmmm,
    First I've heard of a graft. And I have no idea what a Jurubeba is. But if it works, I would probably be willing to give it a try. Same with melons. I can't seem to find good melons here either. Oh well, life is a trade off no matter where you end up. :) I couldn't find da kine mangos or pineapples in SoCal either.
     
  6. amazondk

    amazondk Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,404
    Dean the plant is Solanum paniculatum. Here is a picture

    [​IMG]

    It grows all over the place here in disturbed areas, it is a common weed. The plant turns into a bush and has spines. I also read that some use tabaco plants to graft tomatoes onto. The jurubeba is used to overcome problems with diseases related to the soil. I do not know about the fruit.

    Another tomato relative grows around here, the cubiu - Solanum sessiliflorum . The cubiu is great for health. It supposedly reduces cholesterol and lowers blood pressure. A guy I know here thinks that it will become something like the açai as a health beverage. The fruit is tart and it makes a good juice.

    It looks a lot like a tomato.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. _Keith

    _Keith Member

    Messages:
    24
    Don,

    Is there anyway I could get you to send me some seeds from those two plants, Solanum paniculatum, and especially, Solanum sessiliflorum. Most folks just ship toamto seeds folded in a piece of paper in a plain letter envelope. I would love to try them here in hot, humid, Louisiana.
     
  8. Dypsisdean

    Dypsisdean Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    13,862
    Location:
    Big Island of Hawaii - Kona
    Thanks for the info and pics Keith.

    I am wondering what is the particular criteria that causes the difficulty with tomatoes here. Or it could be a combo. A graft would take care of any nematode issues, but it probably wouldn't help with the moisture and dew problems, or any above ground insects. But I'm willing to hear more about any tips from tropical tomato growers.

    I've noticed that in some of the local tomatoes I have bought the seeds are already sprouting. So I may give that variety a try.
     
  9. ScotTi

    ScotTi Esteemed Member

    Messages:
    4,845
    I do not live in the tropics and still cant grow the large type. I try every year and get around 2-3 tomatoes if I am lucky. The Roma, Grape and the Cherry types do well.
     
  10. amazondk

    amazondk Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,404
    Keith,

    When I get some seeds I will send some. The Cubiu is easier to come by than the S. Paniculatum, the jurubeba. These plants pop up all over the place, but I rarely see one with fruit. The cubiu definately will not take a freeze. But, you may be able to get enough growing season to see fruit. Especially if you start them in a protected environment. I think you need about 8 months to get ripe fruit.

    Send me a pm with your address.

    DK
     
  11. Dypsisdean

    Dypsisdean Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    13,862
    Location:
    Big Island of Hawaii - Kona
    Don,

    We ran into some Brazilians at dinner last night, from the south. They were telling us about how expensive automobiles are down there. He was on his way to Vegas to drive some Ferraris and Lambourgheninis around a race track. He couldn't wait.
     
  12. amazondk

    amazondk Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,404
    Thats right Dean. The cars start at about 15,000 USD for a 1.0 liter sub compact. The majority of the cars are in the 30 to 40 thousand USD range. And, for a car such as a 4 x 4 Toyota Hilux (made in Brazil) it is around 80,000 USD. But, even in light of this the market is pretty strong and there is constant growth in the sector. In fact most things are expensive in Brazil today, real estate included. A 100 pair of Rayban glasses cost about 500 USD here. Which is absurd, because even with the import duties and other taxes you certainly could import them and sell them a lot cheaper and still make money.

    dk
     
  13. Moose

    Moose Esteemed Member

    Messages:
    7,947
    Location:
    Coral Gables, FL Zone 10b
    Tomatoes do well in the winter season in Florida and we are subtropical. Yes they are a tasty fruit however ... so there are so many exceptional tropical fruits, why struggle with the tomatoes? There are many tropical fruits I can not grow - something I had to learn to accept. :)
     

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