One of my most successful crops has always been tomatoes, which is great, since a homegrown, fresh from the garden tomato is one of life’s greatest treats.
If you are interested in growing tomatoes in the desert (or anywhere, really), I’ve found the key to be a good fertilizer and an early start. However, the early start part can be tricky, given that tomatoes are very susceptible to cold and frost. Enter the “Wall-o-Water.” (You can buy them here) It is a great little invention, which, essentially, creates a miniature greenhouse for each tomato plant. A general rule of thumb (for my area) is to get your tomato plants in before Valentine’s Day. With the Wall-o-Waters, I’m able to get my tomatoes in around mid-January. This head start is crucial to getting big plants that produce well.
The second thing that grows great tomatoes is using a good (organic, of course) fertilizer. I use “Mater Magic.” (You can buy it here) I shake some in the hole before I plant the seedling and it really seems to make a big difference.
There you have it! Pretty simple, right? I already have three plants in the ground (which will yield PLENTY of tomatoes for our family this summer) – a cherry tomato, a regular beefsteak, and a yellow heirloom. If you have questions, feel free to leave them in the comments.