Tomato Suckers

Not talking about candy! 

(I call them lollipops, incidentally.)

Although, now that I think about it... might be kinda good! 

But I digress.

Suckers are small shoots that emerge from a main tomato vine. With practice, you can learn to recognize them easily. 

Lots of plants have growths called "suckers." You might recognize the term used for shrubs or small trees, like lilacs, fruit trees, etc. Cucumbers have them...

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How and When to Harvest Tomatoes

You might think that harvesting tomatoes is a no-brainer. That is, it should be obvious. You pick them when they are red, right?

Or yellow, orange, or purple, if you are growing a specialty variety. 

I've started picking them early and I get terrific results when I do. Read on to find out how you can get great results too. 

How To Get Best Looking Ripe Tomatoes

I prefer to pick my tomatoes a little bit early,...

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Watch Out for the Tomato Hornworm!

If you grow tomatoes, sooner or later you'll encounter the tomato hornworm. These are hungry caterpillars that love to strip tomato plants clean.

Creepy looking, aren't they? Surely you can see how they got their name! Even though they have that distinctive "spike" on their back ends, they don't sting. 

These pests are masters of disguise. They are the exact color of the tomato foliage, and they position themselves in such...

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Mulching Your Garden

It's a good practice to mulch your vegetable garden. The benefits definitely outweigh the drawbacks of extra work and extra expense. 

Mulch is a layer put on top of the soil and its purpose is to block weeds and keep the soil moist. People sometimes think of mulch as an organic substance, like compost, wood chips, or straw. It can also be a layer of plastic sheeting, cardboard, or newspaper. Personally, I prefer to use an organic...

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Planting the Summer Garden

Here in Zone 6, I'm harvesting my spring crops briskly. Every time I go to my garden plot, there's something ready to be picked. Peas, carrots, beets, and lettuce. The spinach is already done! 

This also means that the spaces these crops are occupying will soon be open. 

Space is a limited resource in my garden plot, and I don't want to waste it! So, what goes in next?

What Can I Grow?

Two considerations are most important: how much...

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How to Grow Green Onions

Green onions are a wonderful crop that you can grow at any time during the growing season. You may think they are the same as growing onion bulbs, but they are not - they're grown from seed. Seed companies often label green onion seed as "Bunching Onions." 

Scallions and green onions are the same thing - the difference is when you harvest them. Scallions are harvested when they are younger. Leave them to grow longer, 

Green onions...

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Soil Crust

Have you ever noticed that sometimes the soil in your garden gets "crusty?" That is, a harder layer of soil forms on the surface. 

It's pretty common and it's not very good for the garden. 

It isn't a major garden problem, but it deserves some attention. I never knew why the crust forms and how it impacts the garden. It just seemed like it needed to be broken up. The soil surface always looked better after I...

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How to Freeze Greens

This season I planted a lot more spinach than I need for fresh eating. I intended to grow enough to freeze and have on hand. I use frozen spinach in my cooking regularly, and I figured that I might as well freeze some of it from my own harvest.

I just froze my first batch of about a pound of spinach. I hope to get more!

The process described in this article can be followed for most greens (except lettuce). Notes for specific...

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What Makes Gardening Fun?

Maybe "fun" isn't the right word... maybe it should be something like...

  • rewarding
  • enjoyable
  • fulfilling
  • satisfying

There are even people around who would be offended that I'm treating gardening so lightly. To some people, it's a deep passion. To others it's a matter of survival. 

I'm not meaning to pit gardeners against one another! I want to explore the 'why' of gardening for those of us for whom it is a hobby, a pastime, or a...

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Little Big Garden Helpers

Everyone knows the basic garden equipment and tools you'll need when you start gardening. Shovel? check. Trowel? check. Gloves? check. 

Experienced gardeners slowly accumulate their own personal collection of unusual tools, gadgets, and supplies they find themselves using again and again. I present to you my little stash of helpers. 

First though, a little context. I garden at a community garden and gardeners have to bring...

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