One of the many great thing about living in Florida is the long growing season that the climate affords to gardeners. For up to 8 months a year warm season vegetables can be grown. The colder months are mild enough to grow other crops as well. Although most gardeners tomatoes are suffering from the extreme heat of the middle of Summer, fall preparations can begin for tomatoes.
Keeping in mind the first frost is likely to arrive at the beginning of November seeds need to be planted very soon. In general most varieties wont be ready for 70 days after transplant into the garden. To be sure to get a good harvest, fall tomatoes should be planted close to August 1st. This planting date gives a target first harvest of mid October.
The heat of August and the beginning of September can induce stress on the plant and inhibit fruiting. Because of this it is a good idea to choose “hot-set” varieties. These varieties are more tolerant to high temperatures. Typically tomatoes set fruit at temperatures of 65° to 85° Fahrenheit. “Hot-set” hybrid varieties have been selected for the ability to produce at temperatures slightly above that range. A few to look for in seeding catalogs and on seed company websites are Phoenix and Solar Fire.
To learn more, read Tomatoes in the Florida Garden or call you local extension office.