Thursday, April 12, 2012

Lemon Boy Tomato - My Favorite 2 Years Running

The Lemon Boy variety of tomato is a hands down winner again in my Zone 10 garden in South Florida!

Its flavorful, juicy fruit (that get as big as baseballs) and durability easily surpasses most tomato varieties I have personally grown.
Lemon Boy - compare size to the Red Roma!
I first became acquainted with this bright yellow tomato in 2011. I harvested my own seeds from the juiciest tomatoes during the growing season of 2011 and picked and harvested the seeds of the very last tomatoes during July. My intention is to cultivate a heat tolerant tomato that will perhaps last into August or even September. This is quite a tall order, since the temperatures here in South Florida are in the 90’s every day during May to September. In addition last year we had considerably less rainfall than usual, so the vegetables in the garden had to tolerate being watered with our well water (full of iron and sediments).

Fast forward growing season 2012. I started the seeds in potting soil during November 2011 when the temperatures were 75F during the day and 70F’s at night. In December the growth of the seedlings accelerated in leaps and bounds and when they reached 10” tall I set some out in very large pots and some in the Florida sandy, garden soil (which I had greatly amended with the contents of my compost heap). All seedlings were watered with a weak solution of Epsom Salts. I installed tomato cages to support the heavy vines. By February all plants were producing fruit. Here’s where it gets interesting. Despite all plants treated equally with fish emulsion waterings, the Lemon Boy in the soil is faring much better than the Lemon Boys in large pots (compost, potting soil medium). I felt sure that the nematodes would inhibit the growth of those plants in the soil, but we’re in April and so far so good. In addition (and maybe I just got lucky) I had no damage from hornworm caterpillars. You know they can strip a plant of its foliage in a couple of days if you are not “patrolling” the garden on a daily basis.

I have had so many tomatoes from the plants that I have been giving them away to neighbors. Family in North Carolina have just started their vegetable garden and so I have sent some seeds to them to see if Lemon Boy will be as prolific in the clayish soil where they live.

For tips on harvesting your own seeds, see my previous blog:

Gardening - A Rewarding and Seedy Way of Life

Tip 1: Hang old CD’s from the tomato cages. The reflective surfaces help to deter the birds/critters from pecking/chewing holes in the fruit.
Tip 2: There is no loss of fruit flavor if you pick them slightly early and then set out on a sunny windowsill to reach full maturity.
Tip 3: Tuck some basil in between plants. Make sure the basil will have enough sun and room to flourish.


  1. So you actually harvested seeds from a Lemon Boy tomato and were able to plant them and grow plants that produced fruit? Please respond! :))

    1. Apologies for not replying, this email did not make it into my inbox. Yes that is correct, if you dry the seeds properly - the next year you will be able to plant them and they will produce fruit.


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