|Lawn Care For Busy People|
Growing Tomatoes Organically
Tomato Seeds Vs. Tomato Seedlings?
Whether you start your own tomato seeds or buy tomato seedlings, growing them organically will produce healthier plants and better tasting tomatoes.
Tomatoes are one of the most popular summer crops grown in the U.S. High in vitamins and minerals, tomatoes are a healthy and delicious addition to any back yard garden.
Tomatoes are native to the tropical areas of Central and South America, where they grow as perennials. However, in most of the United States tomatoes are grown as annuals. In the southern states they can be grown directly from seeds planted in the ground, but in the north they must be started indoors seven to ten weeks before the last frost in your area, and then transplanted to the garden as seedlings. If you don't have the time or space to start your own tomatoes indoors, tomato seedlings are available almost everywhere at planting time. Tomato seedlings should not be transplanted outside until nighttime temperatures are above 50F, unless you have a means of protecting them if the temperature drops.
Determinate Tomatoes Vs. Indeterminate Tomatoes
Determinate tomatoes are the bush type. They need less staking and are the better choice for growing in containers. I have had great success growing bush type tomatoes in containers of straight organic compost with just some PH adjustment. All tomatoes prefer a slightly acidic to neutral soil (6.0 ? 7.0). Determinate tomatoes set all their fruit and then ripen all at once. For this reason determinate tomatoes are also a good choice for canning, especially if you have a small crop.
Indeterminate Tomatoes are the vine type. This type of tomato continues to make new fruit right up until the first frost, and is a good choice if you want fresh tomatoes for the entire season (I suggest growing some of both types).
Indeterminate tomatoes can be left to sprawl on the ground, but this makes them harder to harvest and more susceptible to rotting from contact with the ground. For this reason most gardeners use some method of support to keep their tomatoes growing in a more orderly fashion. Wire cages are the simplest method of supporting tomato plants. They come pre-made in varying sizes or can be made from fencing and can contain a plant without the need for "training" (pinching back the suckers that occur between each leaf and stem junction. These turn into additional stems.) Hint: If you make you own cages, use a mesh large enough to get your hand through.
Indeterminate tomatoes may also be staked and trained to have only one stem, or they can be grown along a trellis and trained to have two or three stems. These two methods also require that you tie the tomato stems to the supports as they continue to grow. While training tomatoes is more work, by limiting the number of stems and therefore the number of tomatoes, the resulting fruit will be bigger and juicer (for that one slice tomato sandwich). Caging however will save you time and produce ample amounts of tomatoes that are superior to what you'll find in the supermarket.
Hybrid Tomatoes Vs. Heirloom Tomatoes
Heirloom tomatoes have not been altered and will produce fertile seeds that can be saved and grown to produce the same fruit in following years. Hybrid tomatoes will have sterile seeds or seeds that will produce one of the original varieties that made up the hybrid in the first place. I personally believe it is important to preserve heirloom varieties. Also, by saving seeds and replanting them, the resulting plants will become more adapted to your specific climate and soil type.
Hybrid tomatoes are acceptable to the organic gardener, provided they have not been genetically altered. Many hybrid types of tomato are resistant to disease and or insects. The VFN indication on plant labels refers to resistance to Verticillium Wilt, Fusarium Wilt and Nematodes respectively.
Whether you choose to grow heirloom varieties or hybrids, good organic gardening practices, will lessen the chances your plants will succumb to insects or disease. The use of plenty of rich organic compost, companion planting with herbs and flowers, generous mulching and regular watering, will all enhances your plant's overall health and productivity.
Tips on Growing Organic Tomatoes
As with all plants, tomatoes benefit from the generous use of organic compost added to the soil.
Use plenty of mulch, not only to conserve water and hold down weeds, but also to minimize contact with soil born disease. (I prefer natural mulch to plastic. I use seaweed but leaves and glass clippings work well also)
When planting seedlings, don't loosen roots as you would with some transplants. Remove lower leaves and plant so only the top leaves are above the ground. If plants are very "leggy", they can be planted on their side with the top turned gently upright to protrude from the soil.
Water plants regularly in early morning preferably. Watering should be done at ground level rather than spraying the leaves.
Apply fish emulsion periodically to organically supply trace minerals that contribute to healthy plants.
Top dress with more compost midway through the season
Companion plant with basil, dill or borage to attract beneficial wasps whose parasitic larvae feed on hornworms.
Good luck with your organic tomatoes. If you haven't grown them before your in for a treat!
Chip Phelan, a contributing editor for Organic Gardening Review, is an organic gardener living in Rhode Island. Organic Gardening Review is a resource center for organic gardening enthusiast. Find us on the web: http://www.organic-gardening-review.com
Looking for a place to share organic gardening info? Visit our Organic Gardening Discussion Forum at: Organic Gardening Forum.
How To Brighten Up Your Home With These Flower Arrangement Ideas
A beautiful flower arrangement piece can become the focal point of the room you choose to decorate. It's truly fascinating how we can combine different flowers to create a mesmerizing bouquet. With the vast selection of colors, fragrances and shapes, you can create or readily buy a flower arrangement piece that will speak to you and others walking in the room what you want to communicate.
Low Maintenance Teak Furniture
In all likelihood you have heard of teak furniture and have wanted to know why it's such a big deal. This article contains some simple info regarding the building material that seems a little mysterious, even has a weird sound to it, but dominates the market of outdoor furniture.
Invite Spring Early - Grow in Your Basement
Now's the time to get ready to grow your own seedlings! It's not really difficult, and can extend your growing season by many weeks. For example, by planting brassica's (cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower) in February in your basement under grow-lights, you can put large, sturdy transplants into your garden by the end of March or early April, and be eating them when others are just seeing them come up! However, remembering that photosynthesis, using light, heat and moisture causes plant growth, you must follow a few key natural principles very carefully, or you will be disappointed.
Using Push Reel Mowers
If you're not familiar with push reel mowers or if you haven't used one since "back in the day", there are a few points you should be aware of before using a push reel mower:
Garlic: The Stinking Rose
Garlic (Allium sativum) has been used for centuries for both cooking and medicinal purposes. Known as the 'stinking rose' and Russian penicillin, its medicinal purposes have been documented for centuries and have always been a popular remedy for colds, coughs, and sore throats. Garlic was used in World War I and World War II to cure many diseases and because it is a potent antiseptic. Garlic is universally known for its health benefits. It is an excellent source of phytochemicals and contains vitamins A, B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), C, iron, phosphorous, sulphur compounds, and calcium. Medical studies have shown that it lowers blood pressure, reduces cholesterol and hypertension, prevents some cancerous tumours, protects against bacterial and fungal infections, and is good for the blood and heart. It is useful as an expectorant in respiratory ailments, eliminates toxic metals, and supports the immune system. Garlic may prove to be useful for diabetics, as it seems to regulate blood sugar levels.
How to Create a Wildflower Garden
In today's gardens often populated by geraniums, roses, and zinnias, wildflowers can provide a simple and graceful flair. Almost any garden or landscape can be beautified by their presence. Not only are wildflowers easy to grow but they possess a natural resistance to pests, disease, and harsh climates. They can survive in clay soil, nutrient poor soil, sandy soil, and practically no soil at all. Once established in their preferred habitat, wildflowers can survive on their own without pruning, weeding, primping, and little or no watering.
Escape to Sunny Mexico - at Home!
Can't get away for a southern vacation this year? Don't despair -- plan a sunny Mexican style refresher for your patio décor and enjoy the festive atmosphere of a hacienda at home this summer.
Frame Your Garden With Edging
You've planted the flowers, put in the shrubs and even added a bird bath and a few garden decorations, but what's missing? Could it be the edging?
Cozy Nooks: Creating a Secret Outdoor Place
Everyone seems to love a secret -- and when the secret is a nook in your outdoor space, all the better. A nook is defined as a private or secluded quiet inner place. Any outside space, from a balcony to an acre estate can benefit from including a nook. Here are points to consider:
Choosing Garden Furniture
No matter how pleasant a garden is, it is not being enjoyed to its full extent if there is no where for visitors to sit and admire the beauty of the garden. Luckily, few gardeners are willing to sacrifice design for comfort and with the wide choice of garden furniture available today, it is rare to find gardens bereft of furniture. Garden furniture will if anything look great with just about any style of garden.
The Importance of Garden Decor
The Quest for Significance
The Advantages of Both a Liner Pond and a Preformed Pond, Rolled Up Into One Box!
Gardening and Flowers
Gardening is one of life's pleasures whether you grow flowers, vegetables or herbs; we look forward to the planting season. But whether you are new or seasoned gardener, it's important to remember a few basic things.
If you appreciate plants that have no hesitation in boldly stating their presence with huge, almost artificially perfect flowers, then tuberous begonias are for you. While some may find them rather too overstated, downright brazen even, if you like colour, and plenty of it, with subtlety an option rather than compulsory, then look no further.
Outdoor Living Cleanses The Mind, Body, and Spirit
Through the use of various mediums pertaining to the outdoors, like hot tubs and patio furniture, one can relax and enjoy nature. Don't stay confined to four walls and a roof, breathe and inhale the free, fresh air only the beautiful outdoors can provide. Use your outdoor space as an extension of home, with all the added comforts. Suppose you do not have an outdoor space to relax on wicker and eat on a simple yet classy teak table. What do you do?
Decorative Garden Accents
Think of your garden like you would a room in your home. After planning the shape, tilling the soil, choosing the right plants the last step is to add those personal touches. And just like indoors this is accomplished with accessories.
External vs. Submersible Pumps. Which One Should You Use?
For many people, it's never been a question of whether to use a submersible pump vs. an external pump because most people have smaller ponds and are used to just using a submersible pump. They're easy to install, and are pretty reliable - so why even consider an external pump?
Teak Adirondack Chairs
Outdoor furniture constructed with teak wood is a favorite among consumers due to the beauty and durability of the individual pieces. For this reason, a wide variety of outdoor furniture is made using teak ranging from teak Adirondack chairs to classic, formal furnishings.
Water Ponds and Wildlife - How To Attract More Animals to Your Backyard
Wildlife require water just as humans do. Water is essential for life. Songbirds use it for bathing and preening; waterfowl and shorebirds for finding food and escaping predators; and muskrat, mink and beaver for every part of their existence.
|home | site map|