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Sunday, April 20, 2014
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Published: 3/13/2013

Readers just can't get enough tomatoes

BY KELLY HEIDBREDER
IN THE GARDEN

I think I could just continue a weekly column about tomatoes because of all of your continued emails. I wanted to share a few other ideas for you from your neighbors.

Mike Jesionowski is a Perrysburg gardener and he wants to know where he can find a specific tomato variety. He says, "I have heard chefs on the Food Network talk about San Marzano tomatoes many times. I have purchased the canned Italian tomatoes several times. Last year I went to a local garden center to get some plants. I saw a San Marzano plant, so I bought one. I only planted four tomato plants.

"The San Marzano plant outproduced the other plants by far and the product was delicious. Once it started producing, it had ripe tomatoes almost every day. We had sliced tomatoes every day with dinner and I also made two batches of pasta sauce from these four plants but San Marzano was the star."

Fireball

There are still other readers that are looking for some of their favorites. "I have been looking for Fireball tomatoes for several years," LaVerne Curtis says. "We grew them years ago and found them to be excellent. I tried to contact Doug Fisher but was not able to do so. Can you get me in touch with him or someone who sells the plants. I only need a few."

So, what do you think, readers? Do you have a good source for the Fireball?

Growing tips

If you are struggling to get those tomato plants growing, here are some tricks from another one of your neighbor gardeners. Joe Miller has a small greenhouse and he considers it a healthy hobby.

" I only start six to twelve plants at a time. I start my first tomatoes about the middle of January and those go to a cold frame about the first of April."

He says he plants them right in the ground in April, then takes the cold frame off when the temperatures level out in May.

We like to enjoy these fresh vegetables all summer long. Don't plant everything all at once. Plant them every few weeks. Lettuce and corn are good candidates for this too.

"I keep restarting plants about every two to three weeks after the first start. I do this until about the end of April, at which time I make a couple of starts in the cold frame until the first of June. Then I may make another start in the garden itself.

"I've found it helps to have plants maturing at different times, because the older plants get run down as the season wears on or may be damaged due to disease. The later plants seem to do better than the earlier ones. Even the later ones started late May and early June have enough time to have ripe tomatoes."

Since I have the green house, I also start a few tomatoes in the garden around late September, early October to be transplanted into container for the cold frame and green house. His favorites are Early Girls, Rutgers, Romas, and Rio Grands.

" I need to find a good patio brand for the winter in the green house. My goal is to have tomatoes year round. I'm pretty close, just a couple more obstacles to overcome."

Contact Kelly Heidbreder at getgrowing@gmail.com.



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