Source: Paul Schattenberg, Texas A&M AgriLife
The high-yielding Harris Moran-8849 tomato has been selected as the official “rodeo tomato” for the 2019 San Antonio Livestock Show and Rodeo, which runs from Feb. 7-24.
“Each year, a new tomato variety is selected by Texas A&M AgriLife to be the official tomato of the event,” said David Rodriguez, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service horticulturist, Bexar County. “Selection of the rodeo tomato is a 20-plus-year tradition.”
Rodeo tomato plants will be available for sale at the Bexar County Master Gardener display at the HEB Little Buckaroo Farms tent on the San Antonio Livestock Exposition grounds.
The Harris Moran-8849 was one of many tomato plant varieties tested during the annual Texas A&M AgriLife tomato trials, Rodriguez noted.
“Harris Moran-8849 is a determinate plant producing high yields of extra-large fruit that are deep red in color,” he said. “This early season hybrid tomato is well adapted to the state’s growing conditions since the compact vine provides adequate foliage cover and produces a concentrated fruit set.”
He said the plant produces firm, oblate fruit that ripen uniformly and are very smooth when produced under normal growing conditions.
“Harris Moran-8849 tomatoes are also resistant to several plant diseases, including verticillium wilt, fusarium wilt, fusarium crown and root rot,” Rodriguez noted.
Rodriguez said one way to help ensure success with this variety is to pot the plant into a 1-gallon container before setting it out in the garden for the spring, when soil air temperatures are warm enough to support plant growth and fruit setting.
“In this region, this time frame is usually from early March through the first week of April,” he said. “For the best results, pot up your transplants with a pre-moistened peat-based potting mix and then enrich that mix with copious amounts of a slow-release fertilizer made especially for container plants. The key plant nutrient will be nitrogen.”
Rodriguez said the potted tomato plants will become large and can then be transplanted to the vegetable garden or a much larger diameter container.
“We will also have some of the 2019 Texas Superstar plant releases for sale at the Master Gardener booth staffed by volunteers from the Bexar County Master Gardeners and Guadalupe County Master Gardeners associations,” he said. “These Superstar plants were chosen for their beauty and adaptability to Texas climates.”
For more information on Texas Superstar plants, go to http://texassuperstar.com/.
Rodriguez said proceeds from the plant sale will be used to help fund Junior Master Gardener Scholarships.
“The Junior Master Gardener program helps young people develop life skills and an appreciation for horticulture, agriculture and nature in general,” Rodriguez said.