Posted on 16 February 2013 by

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 »

Posted on 12 February 2013 by

The Epic Story of the Tomato and the Hummingbird Moth

Photo Credit: Hummingbird Moth by Dwight Sipler used under CC BY 2.0

Photo Credit: Hummingbird Moth by Dwight Sipler used under CC BY 2.0

By Mindy McIntosh-Shetter

The other day, I was out at the community garden watering the tomato plants.

To my surprise, I noticed some movement among the plants.

At first I thought it was a rabbit, squirrel or snake.

As I continued to water, this unique creature began to flutter.

Then, I thought it was a hummingbird.

But what is a hummingbird doing in the tomato patch, I wondered. While I still have red tomatoes on the vine, I had never heard of a hummingbirds nesting or resting in tomatoes. The only attraction I could see was the color red but……..

This year I have found uniqueness Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on 08 February 2013 by

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 »

Posted on 04 February 2013 by

Halloween and the Tomato

Photo Credit: Tomat’O’Lantern by Andrew Huff used under CC BY-NC 2.0

By Mindy McIntosh-Shetter

I would like to start a new tradition with tomatoes.

Culturally, tomatoes have spanned the human belief system.

Some cultures build festivals around tomatoes while others view tomatoes as a “poisonous fruit.”

But, for myself, the tomato represents summertime, and health. This year, though, the tomato has changed its image due to the unusual weather we have been having. I cannot remember picking tomatoes in October but this year it is the norm not the exception.

In doing so, since my tomato crop is still growing and producing, I would like to introduce the tomato into my Halloween celebration. Below are the top six ways I plan to use the ‘love apple” come October 31.

1. Bloody punch will be part of the menu for my Halloween party. I plan to take and make my own tomato juice, which I plan to cool with a frozen hand made from a latex glove. Since my party will be multigenerational, I am choosing to keep it alcohol-free.

2. Stuffed tomatoes will be served with an assortment Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on 30 January 2013 by

3 Ways to Properly Water Your Garden


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 »

Posted on 24 January 2013 by

7 Steps to Growing Award Winning Tomatoes


By Mindy McIntosh-Shetter

In many areas of the country, the county and state fair is getting ready to start.

Throughout the fair, prized vegetables and fruits will be displayed alongside prized livestock.

In the past, these displays gave country folk a chance to show off their skills.

In my great grandmother’s case, it was a chance to become a county champion for 30 years.

Her secret was long kept by the family and passed from one generation to the next when we turned 16 years of age. Below are the secrets to her successful tomato garden. Her success was defined as humongous tomatoes, which won several county and state awards.

While following these steps cannot guarantee a world record tomato, it can help you become a more successful tomato gardener.

1. Prepare the soil – Preparing the soil Read the rest of this entry »


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