Growing Tomatoes in Zone 10: Hawaii and Florida
Hawaii is a tropical area, with different areas of the state and island range to be located in a USDA hardiness zone of between 10 and 11 which means it average minimum temperature growing range is above 30 to 40 degrees F. Florida is in the same tropical region, and has similar growing problems and benefits. Successfully growing tomatoes in these zones involve choosing the right varieties and ensuring the soil is properly amended.
Best Tomato Varieties
Most tomatoes will do well growing in Hawaii, and Florida except for those bread for cooler climates which will result in shorter growing seasons. Growing tomatoes in Florida is a little more easier than in Hawaii. Choose hybrids that are made to counter the root-knot nematode that grows in Hawaiian soil. The 'Anahu', 'Healani', 'Kalohi', and 'Puunui' all examples of Hawaiian hybrids that are created and bred for the tropical climate for the state, yet resistant to that common pests and diseases common to Hawaii. For heirloom varieties try 'Hawaiian Pineapple' with a pineapple flavor, or 'Hawaiian Currant' with pea-sized fruit.
Tomatoes thrive in soils with a pH of between 5.5 and 7.0, with a growing area that is well draining. Test the soil in areas with significant rainfall. If the pH is below 5.5 then it will be necessary to increase the calcium levels to boost the pH levels. Fertilizer such as manure or compost is recommended to boost production and to ensure a healthy plant. Work the fertilizer into the soil before planting has begun, and apply a fertilizer top dressing about every two weeks one the harvest season starts.
Tomatoes may be planted directly into the ground or in growing containers in sizes no less than 3-gallon. Staking up the plants as they grow will help keep the fruit off the ground and accessible to insects. Tomatoes can be started indoors prior to outdoor planting by starting the seeds in seed containers individual peat pots. Once the seedlings have been established, transplant them in rows with about 15 inches of spacing between each plant, and at least 2 feet between each row.
Disease and Pest Management
Purchasing hybrid varieties that are resistant to the root-knot nematode will help alleviate some growing problems. Purchase a general-purpose pest management tomato spray available in local garden shops will help prevent common tomato pests such as white flies and leaf miners. Planting the tomatoes in a rich soil and continuing fertilization during growing and harvesting will ensure healthy plants so they can better protect themselves from infestations in the first place.