The Tomato

Why Did The Tomato Blush?… Because It Saw The Salad Dressing

From frost and cold in the first week of June to the unseasonal 34 degree hot spell the following week, it has been a real grab bag of seasonal change but I think it is now safe to plant the garden.  The market last Saturday started with rain and cleared up for  a very pleasant day with lots of people out and about then back to pouring rain and hail to finish it off.  It was expected to be rainy on Saturday but our hardy vendors were there like troopers as were our regular customers with a nice splash of new comers to our market.  Such a treat!  The weather was predicted to be cool and dry this spring and if the predictions continue to be correct we should have a cooler summer with more rain and the fall should be warmer with less rain.

The Tomato is probably one of the most rewarding and productive additions to most gardens.  There is nothing tastier than a garden fresh Tomato especially if it is grown in your own garden and it  is not that difficult to be a success at growing them even if its in a pot on your balcony.  They do however require some attention and the right nutrients and of course some loving care.  The varieties of Tomatoes are endless and with the many new hybrids that are disease resistant everyone can grow enough to provide themselves with this delight.   Tomatoes are one of the few plants that should be planted deeper that the soil level that your plant will be when purchased.  This allows for more roots to develop and that will mean more nutrients will be taken into the plant.  There are some perils to be considered when growing the plant as over and under watering can be a problem.  They are fairly hardy and most errors in their care can be corrected quickly if you pay attention to the progress of your plant.  Once your Tomato plant is planted and established it enjoys a good deep watering of about 2” in depth weekly this of course may have to be increased if the weather becomes extremely hot.  Growing them in pots will be different and you should ensure they receive good moisture without drowning them. Mulching can be used to conserve moisture and suppress weeds however, if we do receive a lot of rain over a long period of time this mulch may need to be removed.  Watch for yellowing leaves as well as a change in their texture to make your decision.  Pruning is also important, suckers that grow from the main stem near the base of the plant should be removed as well as the growth that appears in the axis of the branches that grow from the main stem.  Also remove any leaves that are yellowing or that extend down and are touching the ground.  This can help prevent any fungal diseases that can be picked up from the soil.  If you smoke cigarettes be sure to wash your hands before touching the plant as mosaic virus can be transmitted to the plant from tobacco.  Tomatoes should not be planted in the same area of your garden for two years and should be spaced at least 2 feet apart.  Many people put egg shells in the planting hole being used for their Tomato plants and this can be good as calcium is vital to the plant to prevent blossom end rot.  If there is a spot at the bottom of the fruit it can easily reversed for the upcoming fruit by applying a calcium based fertilizer, using egg shells at this point will not work unless you make a tea from egg shells as it take some time for the calcium to be extracted and absorbed and the plant needs calcium immediately.  Epsom salts is a great treat for your Tomatoes as well as most of your other household and garden plants but should be used sparingly 1 teaspoon in a gallon of water once a month is sufficient.  This will give your plants trace minerals and will help with uptake of calcium that your plant requires.

This weekend will be the start of my annual sale.  So join me at the market on Saturday or head to the Monashee Co-Op where you will find a selection of plants at discount prices that are sure to fill that open spot or make a nice addition to your yard and garden!

Happy Gardening!  See you at the Market!

Samantha Nason
BS Ranch & Greenhouses
250 547 6567 • samanthanason@hotmail.com

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