Growing Big Juicy Tomatoes With Annette Welsford and Marjory Wildcraft

Want to know how important pruning is to getting big juicy tomatoes?  What about how to handle some of the most common diseases?  Did you know that adding nitrogen later in the season will actually hamper production?  And can you believe that the US Supreme Court actually ruled on the question “is a tomato a fruit or a vegetable?”.  Join us for this podcast and start growing big juicy tomatoes.  Marjory Wildcraft interviews Annette Welsford who is the co-author the complete book of growing tomatoes.

Listen to this fascinating podcast and then click the link to buy the book.

You’ll love it – it is really good.






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This post was written by Marjory


  • Leslie Parsons says:

    Hi Marjory! Your guest suggested choosing cultivars from your local organic nursery. The cultivation techniques and planting dates are also unique to your area. Local organic farmers will be a great source, also.

    I started my tomato adventure in the Northern U.S. It might just be the easiest place to grow tomatoes, even for beginners. Growing tomatoes in Central Texas now, I would call it a very attractive challenge for gardeners, and only recommend cherry tomatoes to beginners. I believe the best approach is to see our climate as offering two short seasons rather than one long season. Up North we protect from frost and cold, in order to stretch the growing season. Here, we must do the same in early spring/late winter, so that when the weather is warm enough to set fruit, you have a good size plant with many flowers.

    I will give a very mild nitrogen fertilizer while the seedlings are still indoors, but once they are in the ground I will use a flowering fertilizer – even throwing about a quarter cup into the planting hole, so that the plant gets the message early: “Time to flower!” Of course, organic fertilizers are by their nature well balanced, but always favor phosphorus. In a sustainable situation, it would mean manure less urine or a supply of rock phosphate to shift animal bedding compost to a P dominant balance. We shoot for mid February for the first planting…….More later.

    1. Marjory Wildcraft says:

      Thanks so much Leslie.

      I absolutely love the phrase “attractive challenge for gardeners” – hah!

      Yup, cherry tomatoes are so much easier – especially in this climate. That might make a good headline; The Easiest Tomato Variety To Grow”.

      Thanks so much for your posts!

      1. Leslie Parsons says:

        More info from the Central Texas front: So, our tomatoes have been transplanted in mid February and we have successfully protected them from frost and cold temperatures, under 45 degrees. As the weather warms, our plants have achieved a good size and have many flowers. With good fertility and care, the plants will rapidly produce a bountiful crop. 30 fruits per bush, is the standard that local farmers shoot for!

        As these 30 fruits develop and ripen, you should get a regular harvest during the Spring season. Once summer arrives you will see a gradual decline in size and volume of fruit. By July 1st, the plants will begin to exhibit stress. As the heat increases, don’t let your plants decline and struggle. If you want a healthy fall crop, now is the time to take drastic action: “Off with their heads!!!” Why? Tomatoes will flower but cannot set fruit reliably when temperatures are above 85. A hard pruning at this time, will allow the plants to survive on the huge root system they have developed over the Winter and Spring season and put on new leaves and fresh flowers for your Autumn crop. I have done side by side tests on this, and if you do not cut them back and remove their stressed out foliage, they will struggle for the rest of the summer and produce very little until they succumb to frost the following Winter. In my experience, about 4 out of five will survive the hard pruning. But, this would be the perfect time to plant fresh seedlings. In fact, it is actually less work to pull the mature plants and simply plant fresh seedlings. One farmer I spoke to, takes cuttings of his in ground tomatoes, before it gets extremely hot, and by the time they are well rooted, he is ready to plant again.

        Yes, tomatoes will grow quite happily in the hellish heat of a Central Texas summer, even without shading! I do not shade mine. Your greatest attention at this time should be water, but that is a whole subject for another time.

        More later.

        1. Marjory Wildcraft says:

          Beautifully written.

          Thank you.

  • steve whitson says:

    Your DVD collection got me thinking about wind control and shading/ so this year I attached tarps to the south side of my high fences to cut down wind effect. I also placed most of my tomatoes in the only place I have late shade. I am planning more shade edtect with additional boards turned to limit late day sun impact.
    I also use drip irrigation/ growing cantolope and cucmbers on trellis beds and growing what I call “dense pack” planting to create
    a more shaded environment. Thanks for your help!

    1. Marjory Wildcraft says:

      Hi Steve,

      Sound slike you’ve got a nice setup there. I need to figure out a way we can share photos! Would love to see it.

  • Linda H says:

    Thanks for the great podcast. For calcium deficiency, I put all of our egg shells crumbled up all over the garden all during the year. When I plant the tomatoes I will put egg shells and a banana peel in the bottom of the hole before planting. I found that is a great way to eliminate blossom end rot.

    1. Marjory Wildcraft says:

      Thanks Linda!

    2. Leslie Parsons says:

      Calcium deficiency is indeed the cause of blossom end rot. However, in Central Texas most of us are sitting on limestone based soil, which is rich in calcium. The problem we have is giving our plants good access to that mineral. If you are growing organically, and your soil Ph is normal, your problem is virtually always a watering issue. Plants are unable to take up nutrients if they are either water-logged or super dry. I have spoken to many gardeners who believe that their gardens are well watered, but if you dig a hole or open a crevice in your beds, you may find that your soil 6″ down and further is as dry as toast in the summertime, when there as not been drenching rain. Dry sub-soil is a symptom of desertification! None of your plants will thrive under these conditions. When you discover this scenario you must saturate the subsoil until it is moist way down deep. You will not have to water that deeply every time after that, but be aware of conditions down below. During the drought we have been enduring, this situation can even happen during milder weather.

      The name of the game is to keep your soil in the happy zone – not bone dry and not sopping wet. That insures the plants ability to absorb the nutrients they need.

      1. Marjory Wildcraft says:


        So well said.

        Thank you

  • George says:

    I just listened to the conversation with Annette Westford about tomatos.

    I wanted to order but the only option for non-internet, non-credit card purchase was postl but only for Aussies.

    I use moneyorders exclusively for these type of purchases – not even checks. Can you help me with a moneyorder purchase procedure?


    1. Marjory Wildcraft says:

      Hi George,

      I’ll forward your email to Annette, and hopefully you can work something out.

  • Walter says:

    How do I buy the ebook? Blue print on maroon is not the best thing to read. Couldn’t find a link to purchase.

    1. Marjory Wildcraft says:

      Hi Walter,

      Below the text blurb on the page with the interview is a box showing the book and a CD with the words “Grow Juicy tomatoes” red letters on white. click on that and you’ll get to the correct website which only sells that book.

      Here is the link:

      Blue lettering on maroon? Uh, where is that?

  • JJM says:

    This spring I was getting lots of good results from tomatoes I’d planted last fall and transplanted into this year’s tomato & pepper rotational plot. Good results, that is, until I again got attacked by Spider Mites. The diluted rubbing alcohol spray along with Diamotaceous Earth mixed in seems to work for a week or more but then along comes another horde. How can I successfully eliminate this problem and when should I plant a fall crop in Houston area? Miss my fresh tomato on my lunch sandwich!!

    1. Marjory Wildcraft says:

      Hi JJM,

      I’ll get back to you on how to treat spider mites as I need to look it up.

      Planting for tomatoes in Houston is right now. Check out Leslies comment posted here for some excellent info on growing in Central Texas – not too far from you.

    2. Leslie Parsons says:

      Spider mites, as well as aphids, are soft bodied insects and are easy to kill with a spray of natural soap (non-detergent type). Use one tablespoon to one gallon of water. Even a strong stream of water, from your hose, will knock them off your plants. They cannot survive the fall. The secret is persistence. Return every day or two and repeat until there is no sign of infestation.

      1. Marjory Wildcraft says:

        Thanks again Leslie.

  • Paula says:

    Just found this, the link for the book is no longer working. ???

    1. Hi Paula,

      thanks for the heads up on that… I’ll check into it!

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