Useful Sites & Sources

Sources for Heirloom Seeds Heirloom tomatoes can’t be beat for their intense flavor. They are wonderful to look at, too, and have great names like Green Zebra, Cherokee Purple, Red Pear, Mortgage Lifter and White Wonder. Finally they have wonderful stories to tell. For example, a West Virginian home gardener named Charlie fell on hard times during the depression. He owned a radiator repair shop, but people were so broke that they weren’t repairing their cars. Charlie took his four largest-fruited tomato plants and crossed them repeatedly to create a…

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General Care

Watering Water often and deeply, soaking the soil six to eight inches deep at least twice a week. Tomatoes do not respond well to letting the soil dry out between waterings. Keeping moisture levels in the soil even will help prevent the dreaded blossom-end rot, that small black spot on the bottom of the tomato which eventually can spread throughout the fruit. Mulching A layer of mulch (straw, plastic, grass ) will help conserve soil moisture during the hot, dry days of July and August. In addition to moisture, tomatoes…

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The Tomato

Tomatoes are the most popular home garden vegetable. They are easy to grow and thrive under a variety of growing conditions. Sales of tomato transplants have skyrocketed in recent years with tomato plants being an important part of the spring bedding-plant industry. Tomatoes are a native South American crop but were taken to Europe by early explorers. Although some Europeans accepted the tomato immediately, others thought it to be poisonous. Even after the plant was brought to America, most Americans were afraid of tomatoes until the 1830s. Nutritive Value Tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C. One…

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Tomato Fusarium Crown Rot

Fusarium crown rot strikes at the root and wreaks havoc on the entire root system. It is extremely widespread in places with sandy, acidic soil. Southern Florida, for example, is much more likely to experience it than Colorado. Causes and Symptoms Caused by the fungus fusarium pseduograminearum, tomato fusarium crown rot is so prevalent because the fungus is easily picked up by weak or young plants. It can also be carried over to new soil from infected plants, thereby leaving both soil and plants extremely susceptible to plague. There is…

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Grafting Tomatoes – A Beginner’s Guide

Types of Grafts One of the simplest grafts is a top graft. Mefferd recommends working with small plants, which might be only 2 to 3 inches tall, not only to fit the silicone grafting clip size but to increase success. Choose a rootstock plant and scion that are nearly identical in stem diameter. Carefully cut the rootstock plant at approximately a 35-degree angle with a razor, and discard the top. Using the same angle, slice off the top of the scion. Some people pinch off several of the scion’s leaves…

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America’s Best Homemade Tomato Sauce

If you’re buying jarred tomato sauce because it’s more convenient than making the real stuff, stop right now. Despite what you might think, you don’t need a long list of ingredients or an entire afternoon of free time. This recipe, borrowed from Patsy’s Italian Restaurant in New York City, will have you saying goodbye to the supermarket sauce aisle for good.Patsy’s has been churning out its famous red sauce since 1944 and is a favorite among celebrities, including Frank Sinatra and JFK. The family recipe utilizes canned San Marzano tomatoes,…

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