Selecting the Tastiest Tomato Performers for your Garden!

tomato1To me, one of the best things about summer is fresh, homegrown tomatoes. Read on for our tomato picks and tips.

You Say Tomato

tomato

Who doesn’t love tomatoes? Easy to grow, taste great, and can be used in a million different recipes.

My top tomatoes:

  • Sweet 100 cherry tomatoes – like candy from the garden. Great in salads or plain as a snack.
  • Celebrity tomatoes – smaller, easy to grow, bursting with flavor for salads and sandwiches.
  • San Marzano – juicy plum tomatoes, naturally sweet. Perfect to puree for tomato soup, marinara, and salsa!
  • Brandwine – love these big guys. Heirlooms that stand up to burgers and other sandwiches. They also make for can’t-stop-eating-’em Caprese salad with a sprinkle of salt, homegrown basil, and fresh mozzarella cheese. Yum!

Tomatoes love to climb. Give them a tower (great Father’s Day gift). I especially like Gardener’s Supply towers. The roomy square openings are big enough for large hands to harvest the fruits of their labor. Easy to store since they fold flat. Plus, extensions are available for plants taller than 4 feet.

Avoid watering at night and try not to handle the plants when they are wet (and more fragile).

Yes…Rainbow Garden Designs even has a jazzy little tomato tune for you! Check out “Hang on Little Tomato” by Pink Martini.

Beetle Mania

beetlePut plainly, Japanese beetles can destroy your garden quickly and easily. Thankfully, one or two won’t do too much harm and they only are around for a month or so.

  • Not all metallic green and copper beetles are Japanese beetles. Japanese beetles are about 3/8″ long. Check their undersides. If you see small white tufts under the wing cover and at medicine20 the abdomen, you’ve got one.
  • They emerge from the ground in June/July here in Illinois, and survive for a month or two.
  • These guys seem to like sunshine. They eat during the day on the top of plants’ leaf uppersides. They do not especially like needled evergreens, magnolias, oaks, and non-Japanese maples.
  • Females are attracted to moist lawns. If you have had a beetle problem in the past, underwater your lawn at the end of June/beginning of July.
  • I’m not a proponent of using chemicals, so I recommend the tried and true jar of soapy water. Hold the jar under the beetle, poke it. It will fall into the jar. Slow, but safe for your plants and other animals, and effective.
  • Share! If you’ve had success with nontoxic beetle control, let us know! To enter your comment on our Facebook page today, click here.