Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Hello again,

Good gardening friend Paul Parent of the Paul Parent Garden Club sends out a great newsletter every week with pertinent gardening topics. I encourage you to go to his website to sign up for his newsletter. Paul can also be heard every Sunday morning from 6 AM to 10 AM at his website or at WBACH (104.7 FM) every Sunday morning from 6 AM to 9 AM.
Recently Paul sent out a great post about growint tomatoes. He brings us some great pointers:

"The tomato is America's favorite plant in the vegetable garden. The reason it is the favorite is flavor! A tomato fresh picked from the garden or purchased from a local farm stand stands out among any tomatoes purchased at the supermarket. The difference in taste, freshness and ripened-on-the vine-flavor cannot be imitated on the truck traveling here on the way from Florida or even Mexico. Other vegetables do also taste different when picked fresh but no others taste as different as the tomato. Today, garden fresh tomatoes come in all shapes, colors, sizes and flavors. Tomatoes are so versatile you can eat them at any meal--cold or hot, they bring flavor to everything we eat from sauces and soups, to salads and even condiments.

When you plant tomatoes, select a location with full sun all day long! Soil quality will determine your success with this vegetable, and the more organic material you mix into the soil the better the plant will grow. Chicken manure is better than cow manure, compost is better than peat moss, and a well-drained soil is better than a clay type soil. The plant will grow anywhere but the results will be the difference. Soils should be near neutral so if moss is growing in the lawn near the garden, lime the soil every spring or use Jonathan Green Mag-I-Cal to improve the acidity problem. To check soil acidity, try the new "Soil Stick" from Plumstone Home and Garden Products available at your local Garden Center. Acid soil will cause a black spot called "Blossom End Rot" on the bottom of the fruit, so keep the soil limed and treat the soil--especially in planters--with an organic product developed for the tomato industry in Florida, called "Tomato Maker" that is available at your local garden center. Use it at the time you plant or add it around the plant now.

Now for the real tough part when planting tomatoes--SPACING! The biggest problem gardeners have is trying to grow too many tomatoes in their garden. Tomatoes will grow better, ripen earlier, and have fewer disease and insect problems if spaced properly. The proper spacing is 3 feet by 3 feet in the garden, no closer. If the sun can hit the entire plant, it will grow better and the fruit will ripen sooner. If the air can circulate around the tomato plant better, you will reduce disease and insect problems. Plant fewer tomato plants and get MORE tomatoes from those plants!

 Most important is not to plant in the same area you planted last year and remove any volunteers that develop in the garden, as those plants could be infected with disease from last year and create a problem again this year for you. Also NEVER water the garden at night or late in the day--and try to avoid using overhead sprinklers.
One last tip for you, add a fertilizer that contains Mycorrhizae Fungi (we recommend Tomato or Garden Tone by Espoma or Tomato Maker--all sold right here at Skillin's). when planting this spring. This new technology in gardening will help to develop plants that will out-produce anything you ever had before. The plants will require less fertilizer and water, and will also have fewer disease problems. "

Thanks to Paul Parent!

Mike Skillin
Skillin's Greenhouses
May 30, 2012

No comments: