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Success With Tomatoes

05/07/10 1:04PM By Charlie Nardozzi
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I'm Charlie Nardozzi and this is the Vermont Garden Journal.  Tomatoes are the most popular vegetable grown in American gardens.  They originated in South America, where tomatoes have been popular for centuries.  In France, they're called pommes l'amore or apple of love, where it's believed tomatoes are an aphrodisiac.  In this country, the early colonists believed that the poison in tomatoes would turn your blood to acid.  Luckily we got over our early superstitions and now Americans eat more than 20 pounds of fresh tomatoes a year.

It's still early to plant tomatoes in our area, unless you use some of these tricks.  Grow cold, tolerant varieties, such as "Stupice."  Preheat the soil by laying down red plastic mulch on the beds before planting.  The plastic mulch traps heat in the soul while the red color can increase yields up to 20%.  Protect transplants with a Wall o Water.  Wall o Waters are plastic cylinders placed around individual plants with sleeves that are filled with water.  The water releases heat near the tomato plant keeping it warm during cool nights.

Now for this week's tip, treat your mom to a special new shrub this Mother's Day - an Invincibelle Spirit hydrangea.  Invincibelle Spirit is similar to the popular Annabelle hydrangea, but instead of producing 6 to 8-inch diameter white flowers, it produces large pink flowers instead.  Invincibelle Spirit is hardy to zone 3, grows 3 to 4-feet tall and wide, and blooms from June until frost.

Nest week on the Vermont Garden Journal, I'll be talking about the red lily leaf beetle.  But for now, I'll be seeing you in the garden!

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Related Links

Early Tomatoes Invincibelle Hydrangea Plant Identification Guide NPR: Taking Tomatoes Back To Their Tasty Roots
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