By Mindy McIntosh-Shetter
Tomatoes by nature are beautiful plants.
The emerald green leaves provide a clean backdrop that enhances the fuzzy stems that glisten in the morning sunlight.
Later on in the season, the landscape is greeted with bright yellow blooms that, depending on the variety, turn into balls of crimson, gold and green.
These plants do not have to be hidden away in the vegetable garden but instead can be showcased in planters, flowerbeds, and rose gardens.
Several different planters can be used to display flowers and vegetables. Determinate tomatoes look wonderful in a planter when combined with marigolds, nasturtiums, and basil. This combination addresses the eye and the nose while providing a tantalizing treat for the palette.
If displaying the tomatoes in a planter, it is important to only use determinate tomatoes. This type of tomato will not require staking or trellising.
While this may not be a mainstream way of gardening, planting your tomatoes in with flowers is a way of having the best of both worlds. Before planting your tomatoes in a flowerbed, plan the planting first. Tomatoes require at least 6 hours of sunlight a day. They also require a well-drained soil and love to be feed. This information is important to note and consider when deciding where to place the plants.
Avoid planting tomatoes near acid-loving plants and perennials. Also, avoid planting tomatoes near any plant that is in the nightshade family. These plants share many of the same plant diseases.
When choosing the variety of tomato, consider whether you want a trellis or plant stake showing in the flowerbed. There does exist many decorative ways of trellising a plant but these choices are typically saved for landscape plants and not vegetable plants.
Another consideration when planting tomatoes in a flowerbed is the color of the fruit. The vegetation of any tomato plant is about the same from one variety to the next but fruit color can differ. It can range from the traditional green to red, pink, yellow and even variegated. Also look at the shape of the fruit. Different shapes can add additional texture to the flowerbed.
Roses and tomatoes share many of the same needs. They both require a lot of sunlight, like Epsom salt and depending on the variety require trellising. Tomatoes can conceal the tall, flowerless canes of roses while preventing black spot. Both these plants can be trellised together and receive the same fertilizer.
Both plants benefit from Epsom salt being added to their soil when planted, sprinkled on top of the soil, and added to the watering regime. They also benefit from compost, kelp and/or seaweed, fish products, blood meal, and bone meal.
When considering planting tomatoes in the rose garden, remember that you will not be able to use a pesticide designed for roses unless it is organic. Many pesticides designed for flowers are toxic if consumed and natural methods are always better.
So until we blog again, color the world with beautiful tomatoes planted here, there, and everywhere.