Tag: edibles

Tomato Tales

This is an excerpt from my column in AY Magazine. Read the entire article here.

Long before social media was even a spark in our collective conscious, bits of “wisdom” have been going viral via word of mouth in the form of old wives tales and folklore.

For me, these stories are interesting because they are part of our oral tradition. For instance, how many of you have heard that it is bad luck to place a hat on a bed or that going out in the cold with wet hair will make you sick?

Of course, my favorite anecdotes are about gardening and some of the best are related to growing tomatoes. It seems everyone’s grandmother had a pearl of wisdom about getting the growing the best tasting tomato.

Matt's Wild Cherry Tomato

Here are a few tomato tales that I’m familiar with. Some are based in fact, while others are pure fiction.

  1. Sprinkle sugar in the planting hole or water your tomatoes with sugar water to make them sweeter. This is untrue. The sweetness of a tomato is determined by the variety. If you want a sweet tomato try planting ‘Sungold’ or ‘Mr. Stripey’.
  2. If you have a tomato plant that is lush, but doesn’t set fruit, beat it with a broom. The idea behind this tip is that the beating will stress the plant and prompt bloom. More blooms mean a better chance for tomatoes. I haven’t tried this one, but the old-timers swear by it.
  3. To prevent blossom end rot add crushed eggshells to the planting hole. This suggestion actually has legs to it. The eggshells are a good source of calcium, which helps reduce blossom end rot.How about you? What’s the best tomato growing “advice” you know? Have you tried any of these tips?

Growing Edibles in Small Spaces

This is an excerpt from my column in AY Magazine. Read the entire article here.

You don’t need a lot of space to grow vegetables and herbs. In fact, in a 4 x 4 raised bed you can grow enough food to feed a family of four. You can supplement your groceries with edibles grown in containers, hanging baskets, pallet gardens and window boxes.

Need inspiration? Check out these photos.

You can grow many ebibles in a window box. Here I've planted cool season herbs, lettuce and strawberries. Geraniums are in the mix to take over when the weather warms.

Drill a few holes in the bottom and a galvanized pale turns into a chic planter.

GrowBoxes are ideal for limited space and time. The water tank and slow release fertilizer strip take the guess work out.

A pot of annuals or colorful vegetables creates a focal point in a raised bed.

Edibles and flowers make beautiful companions. Here I've planted dwarf cherry tomatoes, purple basil and red geraniums.

These 3 containers will yield plenty of strawberries, chard and English peas for me to eat.

Tomatoes are happy in pots. Choose a determinate (grows to a determined size) variety and stake as soon as you plant.

 

The Conundrum of Managing Pests & Diseases on Edibles


Here’s a puzzler for you. How do you control pests and diseases on edibles without making the plants inedible? Last spring Mallory Hynes with Garden Safe joined me at the Garden Home at Moss Mountain Farm to talk with a group of garden bloggers about the topic. I found her demonstration very interesting and thought you might too, so I asked her to write a guest blog post.

Garden Safe® Brand was thrilled to be invited to participate in P. Allen Smith’s inaugural Garden2Blog event April 26th & 27th at Allen’s Garden Home Retreat – and what an event it was! We toured gardens around Little Rock, participated in workshops with other Garden Home partners, enjoyed wonderful food and conversation and even survived a looming tornado. We enjoyed learning from Allen, the other partners and bloggers and loved being able to share our knowledge of effective alternatives for garden pest control.

Allen eating a carrot just after he sprayed it with Garden Safe Fruit & Vegetable.

On the second day, the bloggers bravely battled the elements and met us (in their bright orange ponchos) in Allen’s vegetable garden for the Garden Safe Scavenger Hunt. The bloggers helped the Garden Home Retreat’s chef, Brian Kelley, prepare his Sliced Orange Salad for that night’s dinner by collecting lettuce, peas, carrots, onions, garlic chives and leeks. But first, they sprayed them with Garden Safe Fruit & Vegetable Insect Killer RTU – safe to use on vegetables up to day of harvest – to kill any unwanted pests. Allen even sprayed a carrot and took a big bite! Everyone had a great time speeding through the garden to collect their goodies, with the fastest four winning gift cards to use in the gift shop – taking home many great books, kitchen décor and garden gadgets.

Adriana of Anachry in the Garden holding up a leek she harvested.

Our Garden Safe Fruit & Vegetable Insect Killer – made with pyrethrin, a botanical extract of the chrysanthemum flower that affects the nervous system of many insects and kills them on contact in all stages of growth, including eggs – isn’t the only product we have that’s certified for organic gardening and safe to use on edibles up to the day of harvest. We also have many products safe for use on edibles that are also OMRI Listed, meaning they are certified for organic gardening by the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) as meeting the USDA National Organic Program’s requirements for organic production, process and handling. These include:

  • Fungicide3 and Neem Oil: 3-in-1 fungicides, insecticides and miticides, that are made from neem oil extract, a organic botanical extract from the neem tree that repels insects from treated leaves and stems and suffocates many small, soft-bodied insects on contact
  • Insecticidal Soap: Made from potassium salts of fatty acids, plant-derived fatty acids that damage the cell membranes of many soft bodied insects, killing them on contact, this soap breaks down into potassium, which is used by plants, and fatty acids, which are metabolized by soil microbes
  • Slug and Snail Bait: Derived from Iron Phosphate, a phosphate of iron that occurs naturally in the soil, this bait is not effected by temperature or wetness, can be used in greenhouses and around pets & wildlife

Garden Safe Fruit and Vegetable Spray

We at Garden Safe know that gardeners want effective pest and disease control products to help nurture their fruits and vegetables, along with the peace of mind that comes with gardening responsibly. And we are proud to provide products that allow them to ensure that their harvests are as healthy as possible. Better Plants, Better Planet.®

For more information, visit GardenSafe.com and facebook.com/GardenSafe