Friday, June 4, 2010

Tomatoes and coming open gardens

Tomatoes are beginning gardeners' favorites. Garden tomatoes usually taste much better than those you buy, and they are preposterously easy to grow. One of you worried this week that a deer had come through for the first time (near the Upper Montclair shopping center!) and nipped off the tops of his tomatoes. Would they survive? I think so. Some books advocate actually "pinching off" tomatoes, because they grow back more fully. If someone removes your head, you won't grow a new one, but tomato plants are different. Eat their heads and they will grow more, probably more than one.

There is the tale that they need light. There must be truth to that, but I've had tomatoes volunteer on my compost heap and actually bear. More convincing is the tomato plant that volunteered in the front of my north-facing house. "You silly thing!" I said to it when I first saw it. "You won't get any decent sun here, and I've done nothing to enrich the soil." But it impudently kept growing, so I gave it a cage, and it bore tomatoes -- not as many as in the good soil of my garden in the sunny back yard, but nice.

This week I discovered it had more great-grandchildren (or were they great-great grandchildren?) than I had realized. I potted them up and put them on the right of my steps at 56 Gordonhurst Avenue. Jane brought some more, so if you are still tomato-plant-hungry, you can pick them up.

Are there any folks willing to open their gardens on the morning of July 10 or the afternoon of Sept. 11? First and second year gardens are especially welcome. We experienced gardens can be a bit intimidating, and people like to see what can be accomplished "soon."

I took off my floating cover this morning. The root crops are not germinating quickly where I reseeded, but they are thriving in the mini-plots where they did grow at the first sowing. Gardens are mysterious, like much of life.


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