Sunday, May 25, 2014

Garden of Eatin'

The other day I was visiting with a fellow gardener.   She is new to edible plants and mentioned that she had tried tomatoes the past few years with no success.   I must have been in lala-land because I failed to remember that we struggled with our tomatoes the past few years - I think my tomato failure was largely due to my extreme lack of attention BUT word has it that much of the tomato sets on the market the past few years came out of the greenhouses carrying a virus.  
This is what we picked this morning.  You can see that our tomatoes are doing well.     I always try to pick them when they are just beginning to color.   Otherwise, the mockingbirds get more of the crop than we do.   They like to sit on the pasture fence and wait for them to be juicy and tasty.     Tomatoes can finish ripening on the kitchen counter and still taste vine-ripened. 

There  are a few things you can do to increase your success with tomatoes.  

Don't plant in the same place two years in a row.    This lessens the chance of disease. 

Plant a number of different varieties.  If one does poorly, another may pick up the slack.   Different varieties will also ripen at different times so you'll have a steadier supply.   

Support your tomatoes with a cage or by staking them.    This keeps the fruit off the ground and helps the plant dry faster.

Do not sprinkle tomato plants; water the ground (i.e. the root zone). 

This is the first time that I am paying attention to companion planting suggestions.   Tomatoes can be planted with peppers, basil, parsley, and marigolds.   They should NOT be planted near dill.  Dill will pop up around the garden so remove it when it sprouts near the tomatoes.  

Gardening is cheaper than therapy - and you get tomatoes!   Author unknown 

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