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Plant tomatoes in Ml sun with good soil

Cape Gazette of Lewes, Delaware

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GARDEN JOURNAL

In a film so bad that Variety wrote that the film "isn't even worthy of sarcasm," "Attack of the Killer Tomatoes" got off to a bad start when early in the filming the rented helicopter crashed. It was unintentional, with the debris and the top rotor blades narrowly missing the actors and crew.

After being pulled from the wreckage, Jack Riley and

George Wilson quickly ad-libbed the rest of the scene. The crash of the $60,000 rented helicopter was a huge hit to the movie's low budget of just $90,000. The movie went on to become a cult classic.

Tomatoes are, if anything, resilient to critics. While the French, who see love in everything, called them pommes d'amour (or "love apples") many Americans thought they were poisonous because they are in the same plant family as the deadly nightshade. Robert Gibbon Johnson disproved this when, to the astonishment of the crowd, he ate an entire basket of tomatoes on the courthouse steps Sept. 26, 1820, and did not die.

Tomatoes continue to be the most popular garden vegetable, with over 90 percent of all American gardens growing them. It's easy to grow tomatoes if you give them what they want. Choose a garden site with lots of sun, at least six hours, and ideally eight hours of full sun. Enrich your soil with a good slow-release organic fertilizer along with compost.

Set your tomato plants deep into the soil. Pinch off the lowest leaves and bury the stem up to the top three to four inches.

Water the newly planted tomatoes deep, being sure you soak the entire root system every few days for the first week or two. Don't let the ground get soggy; like most plants tomatoes do not like wet feet. If you grow tomatoes in pots you may have to water every other day.

During the growing season you can fertilize with a good slow-release organic fertilizer, but avoid adding too much fertilizer or you will get lots of leaves and few tomatoes.

Tomato plants grow in two different forms depending upon the variety. Determinate tomatoes set a single crop over a few weeks, and then stop growing and stop producing. Many of the super early varieties are determinate. Often tomatoes sold for growing in pots are determinate, as the plants tend to remain small.

The more popular type of tomatoes are indeterminate, which set fruit throughout the season, often right up until frost. Indeterminate tomatoes will need support with stakes or tomato cages. You can also do what commercial growers do and trellis the sprawling plants by tying the vines to sets of lateral wires.

While everyone has their favorite variety of tomato, the most popular include Black Cherry, Brandywine (Sudduth Strain), the yellow cherry tomato Blondkopfchen, the deep black-red beefsteak Black Krim, the full bodied beefsteak Amana Orange, and the old standby hybrid Big Boy.

For full flavor hold off watering for several days before picking ripe tomatoes. Let them ripen fully in the sun for best flavor.

Plant your tomatoes this year in full sun with good soil and enough water, and you can get tomatoes so full of flavor that they are really killer. No helicopter needed.



Copyright 2016 Cape Gazette, Lewes, Delaware. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from SmallTownPapers, Inc.

Original Publication Date: April 19, 2016



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