| May 08, 2008

Master Gardeners - May 8, 2008

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Master Gardeners - May 8, 2008 Terrific tomatoes byAnkaret Dean, Lanark County Master Gardeners There really is nothing tastier than homegrown tomatoes picked and eaten straight off the plant. Our climate is very well suited to the production of tomatoes; in fact, following potatoes, tomatoes are the second highest commercial crop in the vegetable market.

Choosing the variety is important as today there are dozens of different choices. Some tomatoes are termed determinate, meaning they do not require staking or pruning, and the fruit all matures at the same time. Indeterminate tomatoes require staking, and pruning to keep the little new shoots removed from the branches, and they fruit for a longer period of time. Nowadays there are wonderful little salad tomatoes, from the size of a marble up to a grape, some round, some oval, and some even yellow. Beefsteak tomatoes are the huge ones and Italian tomatoes best for tomato sauce or paste. Choosing tomato seeds from a catalogue gives the best choice, as it is possible to buy seeds that have a resistance to certain viruses and diseases.

Tomatoes love sunshine and cannot tolerate frost. It is essential to try and water regularly during dry spells, as this can be one of the main reasons tomatoes develop problems, and they also like to have enough room between the plants.

There is an interesting new way to grow tomatoes upside down! Surprising as it seems they are happy growing downwards with their roots above them where they are easily watered. Cut a 1-1/2" - 2" hole in the centre of a plastic pail, and cut a piece of fabric the size of the base of the pail. Take a small tomato plant and poke the roots up the hole, then cut the fabric so that it is in position around the plant, The idea of this is to prevent the earth from falling out of the hole. Now, gently place the potting soil around the roots and fill the pail. You may also plant a couple of herbs on the top. Hang the pail in a sunny location and make sure that it does not dry out on a hot day.

For more gardening information, phone Dale Odorizzi 613-264-8135.

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