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Posted on 30 January 2013 by tomatocasual.com

3 Ways to Properly Water Your Garden

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Photo Credit: Tomato Mulch and Soaker Irrigation by Jason Prini used under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

By Mindy McIntosh-Shetter

While watering a plant may seem to be as easy as breathing, it can be a difficult task especially if you are an impatient gardener.

Improper watering can cause plant damage along with making your garden plot a haven for plant diseases but following these 3 simple ways of proper watering can reduce the chances of plant damage.

Prior to any watering program, one must look at the time of day that they are watering.

It is always best to water in the morning but due to busy schedules sometimes this is not possible.

The next best time to water is in the evening but make sure that the sun is still up when you water. The importance of this will become evident later.

Once you start watering during the correct time of day, the next step is how to water. Below are 3 time-tested techniques that will allow you to water thoroughly without causing plant problems.

1. Watering Globes are one technique that can both be Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted on 20 January 2013 by tomatocasual.com

3 Common Ways of Trellising Up Tomatoes

Photo Credit: Rustic Trellises by bluekkdesign used under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

By Mindy McIntosh-Shetter

A long time ago, I learned a very valuable lesson when it comes to raising tomatoes and that is to trellis them up.

I have been guilty of planting my tomatoes and with good intentions planned on going back the next day and trellising them up.

As you can imagine sometimes life gets in the way but it is very important to trellis up your indeterminate tomato plants.

While this chore may bore you, the choices of trellising material can make that dreaded task more interesting.

1. Tomato Cage – An old-fashioned tomato cage is always a great choice when it comes to trellises. It is easy to use, reusable, and stores away quickly. The tomato plants are trained to grow inside this type of trellis. The wires going around the cage is what actually supports the tomato plant but ties can be added for additional support.

2. Wooden Stakes – Wooden stakes are another Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted on 16 January 2013 by tomatocasual.com

Preparing for a Safe Tomato Season

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Photo Credit: Garden Tomatoes by Markus Sandy used under CC BY-NC 2.0

By Mindy McIntosh-Shetter

Growing up in the country, I had the best of both worlds.

Fresh produce and freshly cooked meals were the norm not the exception.

I was known to eat right out of the garden but today that habit is discouraged, as soil-born pathogens seem to appear out of nowhere.

Knowing what, when, and how to pick tomatoes is an important skill that some beginning gardeners do not have. While picking a tomato that is not ripe will not kill you, picking one that is soiled, bruised or diseased can cause problems.

I recommend that only fruit that is clean and blemish free should be picked. While this goes against my grain of thought since nature does not produce anything perfect, it is very important for those who may have a damaged or weak immune system.

Once the tomato has been picked, it should Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted on 12 January 2013 by tomatocasual.com

My Tomato Garden Neighborhood

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Photo Credit: Mr Stripey Tomato Plant by MrsPip used under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

By Mindy McIntosh-Shetter

The other day, I was asked by one of my community garden participants what made a good tomato garden.

I went into the science of soil and how tomatoes thrived in a loose, well-drained soil that contained compost or seasoned manure and that was high in calcium.

When I was finished with what seemed to be a science lesson, the gardener looked at me and said no.

I look puzzled by his response and in turn requested some clarification of the question. Once we were in the same garden space as far as the question, I understood what he wanted to know and that was what made a tomato garden thrive verses one that just survives.

The first thing I recommend to beginning gardeners is to avoid a monoculture garden arrangement. I know some individuals have such limited likes in the vegetable world that there are only a few vegetables that they like.

If you are one of those individuals, it is time to expand your culinary horizons. While tomatoes will grow together, problems can spread like wildfire if that is all you have. Planting something else sporadically will help reduce the chance of tomato Armageddon.

Second, know what makes Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted on 08 July 2012 by tomatocasual.com

A Smelling Tale of the Dodder Plant and the Tomato

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By Mindy McIntosh-Shetter

I was on Facebook the other day and was surprised by this statement.

Do plants smell other plants? This one does.

Then strangles what it smells.

As you can tell this is not only a statement but also the title of a book by Daniel Chamovitz. In this book, the concept of plants “smelling” is explored.

According to Daniel Chamovitz, plants do smell what is going on with other plants around them. This includes fruit ripening, plant death and even when a plant is being attacked by pests. At this point, one may be thinking I have been hitting the tomato wine but no really plants can smell and to prove it Dr. Consuelo De Moraes from Penn State created a simple experiment.

This experiment consisted of several mini tests. This included if the dodder Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted on 06 July 2012 by tomatocasual.com

Love Apples? They’re not just Red Anymore

By Mindy McIntosh-Shetter

I will have to say I am a tomato lover.

I just love those little globes of red delight that sometimes springs love.

But when I think about tomatoes, I always think of the color red and romance.

For me, there is no other color for tomatoes then red but guess what; tomatoes come in a rainbow of colors.

Tomatoes can come in a range of colors that includes creamy white to lime green and pink, yellow, golden orange, and the favorite red. As a matter of fact, the red tomato is so popular that there are 434 different red varieties. The next most popular is orange to yellow colored tomatoes, which include 82 varieties along with Read the rest of this entry »

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