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Posted on 14 May 2013 by tomatocasual.com

Wine Bag Tomato Planter

Photo Credit: Nifty Wine Carrier by Megan Elizabeth Morris used under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Photo Credit: Nifty Wine Carrier by Megan Elizabeth Morris used under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

By Mindy McIntosh-Shetter

I am always looking for a new type of container for my tomato plants.

I have tried upside down planters, concrete planters, bushel baskets, and even bags of potting soil but I had never tried a wine bag.

This idea came to me one day when I was at my local salvage place.

They had one wine bag they had gotten in a load of dog food. At first, they had no idea what it was but when I explained why there were four pockets, it was like an eureka moment.

After purchasing the bag, I took it home and admired my new planter. I could not wait to fill it with tomato plants. So once my local frost-free date had passed, I took out my wine bag to plant it.

To begin this process, Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted on 28 March 2013 by tomatocasual.com

The Dos and Dont’s of Tomato Gardening

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Photo Credit: Tomato Plant - Extra Green by Steven Reynolds used under CC BY 2.0

Photo Credit: Tomato Plant – Extra Green by Steven Reynolds used under CC BY 2.0

By Mindy McIntosh-Shetter

Tomatoes are one of the favorite vegetables not only eaten but also grown.

But a successful tomato garden does happen overnight and requires some work.

Below are a list of dos and dont’s for any tomato garden.

Following this advice will help you have a more successful and enjoyable gardening experience and tomato harvest.

Dos

• Plant the right type of tomato. Many gardeners do not understand tomato terminology and the different between tomato types. Tomatoes can either be determinate or indeterminate. A determinate tomato is one that grows to a certain height, flowers and produce fruit at one time. This type of tomato is great for container gardens since it will not need to be trellised Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted on 22 March 2013 by tomatocasual.com

Starting the Tomato Season Right

Photo Credit: Tomato Pot by Michelle Dyer used under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Photo Credit: Tomato Pot by Michelle Dyer used under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

By Mindy McIntosh-Shetter

I have lived by a motto that every Boy Scout knows and that is to “always be prepared.”

When it comes to the tomato garden, this means always having stakes, pots, Epsom salt and powdered milk available along with an all-purpose potting soil mix and fresh seeds.

While I typically save my seeds from year to year, sometimes I have to buy new stock.

Once I have all my supplies together, I can take an inventory of what I have and what I need. This gives me direction and helps me start off the season right.
In the past when I was low on flats or small containers to start my tomato seeds in, I created “newspaper” pots. These pots are easy to make and I have to admit a great way of keeping kids busy during the gloomy days of winter. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted on 20 February 2013 by tomatocasual.com

How to Prepare for Next Year’s Tomato Garden Today

Photo Credit: Compost! by Lisa B. used under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Photo Credit: Compost! by Lisa B. used under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

By Mindy McIntosh-Shetter

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is a saying that directly applies to gardening.

When weeds creep up, it is better to just pull them up while they are small then to put it off and be faced with a “crop of weeds” in your tomato garden.

When the first tomato hornworm is spotted, it is better to inspect the plant then for damage and other tomato hornworms then to wait for your tomato plant to be eaten down to the ground.

But there is another approach that can be used to preserve ones soil, reduce plant diseases and fertilize it all at the same time. What is this magical elixir? Green manure.

Green manure by definition is Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted on 16 February 2013 by tomatocasual.com

5 Chores for the Late Summer Tomato Garden

Photo Credit: Tomato Plants by Suzy Glass used under

Photo Credit: Tomato Plants by Suzy Glass used under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

By Mindy McIntosh-Shetter

Late summer is the backside of a great tomato season.

While the plants are still blooming and producing, the amount of tomatoes that you can harvest begins to decline.

Many gardeners, during this time, begin to slack back on their tomato garden chores.

Below is a list of important tomato garden tasks that should be done to keep the tomato season going strong.

1. Continue to water. Tomato plants need at least one inch of water a week. To maximize your watering time, only water in the morning and only water the soil. Doing this will reduce possible plant disease and will get the water where it can be used.

2. Watch out for pests. Tomato hornworms are still active during the late summer. If you find them on your plants or fruit remove them but there is one exception to this rule. If the tomato hornworm has little white capsules on its back, allow the caterpillar to remain on the plant. The white Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted on 08 February 2013 by tomatocasual.com

4 Ways of Extending the Delights from the Tomato Garden

Photo Credit: Large tomatoes by Christopher Porter used under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The end of the tomato season is always a sad one for me.

No more fresh tomatoes.

No more fresh tomato juice or salsa and definitely no more bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches.

While I could buy tomatoes nothing taste as good as a fresh, homegrown tomato. But what do I do with all the green tomatoes that are still on the vine? Below are a few suggestions that you may want to follow so that you do not waste these delightful “Love Apples.”

1. Ripen on the plant. A few days prior to using this technique, cut back on watering. This will cause the fruit to speed up ripening. After a few days have passed, pull up the plants and shake off as much of the soil as you can. Turn upside down and tie the root end with string so that the plant can be hung in a cool location. While the plant and fruit is hanging, make sure that the plant does not receive direct sunlight. Check the fruit often and remove any spent or rotten fruit. Keeping these fruits on the plant will slow down the ripening process and in some situations cause more fruit to rot.

2. Ripen in a box. Green tomatoes can be wrapped in Read the rest of this entry »

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