One day my tomatoes seem perfect. When I look again a few days later, I see that their skins are cracking. Some tomatoes appear to be more prone to cracking than others, particularly my large heirloom varieties. I don’t always have this problem when growing tomatoes. Am I doing something wrong?
I’m doing something pretty exciting in my garden right now. I am conducting my very first ‘official’ plant test in Mocha Gardens! Earlier this month I received three samples of the Red Racer Cocktail Tomato – which just happens to be the 2018 All American Selection (AAS) Edible Vegetable Winner. Harris Seeds (a sponsor of the Garden Bloggers Fling 2017) provided the sample plants for me to grow and evaluate this summer. Let’s take a closer look at the Red Racer.
I currently have a tomato jungle growing in my raised bed garden. Many of the plants are taller than me and have stems full of thick leaves, which makes it nearly impossible to see all the fruit that’s growing. If you know me, then you know I like an organized garden so these unwieldy plants are not fitting into my design plan! But more importantly, densely grown tomato plants are more susceptible to disease and pests. So a bit of careful pruning is definitely needed to make things look more tidy and to keep the plants healthy by increasing light and air flow to all parts of the plant. So where to do I begin? First, let’s discuss why some tomatoes grow out of control while others stay compact and bush-like.
I didn’t expect to see a big fat worm eating its way through one of my tomatoes when I peeked in between the overgrown branches to see if any new fruit had ripened. I’d been away for a few days at the Garden Bloggers Fling 2017, so as you can imagine, I was happy to be back in the garden and excited to see how much things had grown after a weekend of daily rain showers. I know when you grow tomatoes you can expect to find worms, but this one caught me by surprise. This little monster is a Yellow Striped Armyworm and is a common garden pest, especially in Southern gardens.
Garden beans are a staple in my garden. They’re fun to grow and are quite beautiful. If you have ever browsed seed racks or flipped through a seed catalog, you quickly learned that there are LOTs of interesting bean varieties to choose from. So how do you pick the right bean for your garden?
Last fall I planted my first cover crop. Like most urban gardeners, I thought cover crops were only for large scale farms. Farms like my granddaddy tended that were acres and acres wide. So I was surprised to learn that cover crops are perfect for urban gardens like yours and mine.