De-Suckering My Tomatoes

May 23, 2012
IMG_3756WHY do I remove the side-shoots, or "suckers," from my indeterminate tomato vines? Because they burden the plants with excess foliage. Too much lushness promotes the shady, wet conditions that lead to fungal diseases. Furthermore, plants with too many stems produce small-size fruit. For healthy plants and large, high-quality tomatoes, those suckers ought to go: Read more »

Keep Monsanto OUT of Your Veggie Patch

February 6, 2012
IMG_0190I HOPE THIS DOESN'T HAPPEN TO YOU. When I bought 'Early Girl' tomato seeds back in 2010, I unwittingly voted for a corporation I vehemently oppose. Which corporation? Why, the evil empire known as Monsanto. Here are a few facts about this loathsome company, along with a few ways to keep it out of your veggie patch: Read more »

Tomato-mania!

September 7, 2011
Tomato-mania!

HAVE TOMATOES SWALLOWED EVERY WORK-SURFACE IN YOUR KITCHEN, TOO? I planted 16 heirloom varieties back in June, and now, after months of careful watering and some decent weather, I can hardly keep up with the produce. (Pictured above is at least 10 lbs. of fruit I collected just this morning, in the rain.) Can you… Read more »

When NOT To Kill a Tomato Hornworm

August 4, 2011
When NOT To Kill a Tomato Hornworm

RECENTLY, while pruning a row of paste tomatoes, I noticed a strange-looking worm (above; click to enlarge) on one of the plants. What this worm is, why it has white projections on its body, and why — if you ever see such a thing in your own garden — you should leave it alone: A… Read more »

My Joan Crawford-Approved Tomato Trellis

May 2, 2011
My Joan Crawford-Approved Tomato Trellis

WHEN IT COMES TO STAKING TOMATOES, I rely on the wisdom of the late, great Joan Crawford, who famously shrieked “No wire cages — EVER!” Okay, she was talking about wire hangers. Still, I loathe tomato cages. Most are poorly soldered — my partner nearly poked an eye out on a loose wire while bending… Read more »

Starting Tomato Seeds Indoors

April 17, 2011
Starting Tomato Seeds Indoors

HOW DO I GET A JUMP ON THE TOMATO-GROWING SEASON? By starting the seeds indoors. Have a look at these seed-starting tips which usually produce strong, healthy seedlings — the kind that are worth planting outdoors when warm weather (finally) arrives: Tip #1: Timing is everything, so don’t start the seeds too early. The best… Read more »

Last of the "Love Apples"

October 10, 2010
Last of the "Love Apples"

I PICKED THE REMAINING good-sized tomatoes from my collapsed trellis last evening. This was not a moment too soon. The fruit would have perished overnight as the temperature here plunged to 32 degrees. What are my plans for the last of these last “Love Apples?”Tonight I’ll turn the few ripe ones into a Classic Tomato… Read more »