24K Heirloom Tomatoes & Friends


Once your tomatoes are all planted and your weed suppressing system is in place, you are in the groove for the season. Now it's a matter of watering, fertilizing, and daily observation. Most everybody agrees that you should not engage in overhead watering. Drip irrigation is the consensus because it conserves water and lessens the chance of fungus and other nasty stuff that results from water on the leaves. I certainly agree. I used tripod watering for years. I was constantly fighting fungus so I changed to drip irrigation. I do not profess to be an expert in drip irrigation. There are two basic kinds, one with holes at regular intervals in the tape or drip hoses. I have been using both. The former is much more stingy with water, but you have to throw the tapes away each year. The hoses tend to sprout holes which asolutely need to be fixed. The hoses are much easier to set up and move around.

Best to water in the early morning I think. Mid-day results in quick evaporation which is wasteful, too. Do not over-water! A rule of thumb. Look at the leaves. If they are starting to show moisture around the edges, its time to water. And your regime has to be sensitive to what is happening around your plants. In extreme heat water more. If it's cool, not so much. Any doubts feel the earth. Parched, water. Moist wait. Easy tests. And the plants will tell you too. They wilt and their leaves curl in the heat. And if they are too cool and moist, they look uncomfortable. Don't water them. Just hope for sun.


People ask me whether I am organic. The answer is no. My life is too complicated and I am not ideological. I don't want to read all the rules and make all the changes. I feel that most natural disease remedies don't work fast enough which puts the plants at greater risk than I am willing to bear. I use common sense. I avoid using anything that is unhealthy to eat, or to the animals that abound in our garden. I use aged composted manure. I use Miracle Grow for Tomatoes every two weeks. I use fungicide prophylactically, if my plants get sick. I studiously avoid pesticides. If they kill insects, they can't be good for us. Simple. I don't use Roundup near my vegetables, but will use it in my gravel driveway. I will use sulphur. And I use various things to reduce blossom end rot. (Recently, I have been placing 2 TUMS in each hole when I plant the tomatoes. Excellent results!) That is about it for chemicals. Oh yes, I use various natural stuff to keep critters away, especially woodchucks, rabbits and deer.

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