Let it Grow: Perfect time of year to talk tomatoes

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 11, 2006

I don&8217;t know of a bad tomato … perhaps an aesthetically challenged one. Even rotting tomatoes make great worm food in your compost pile.

So, let&8217;s talk tomatoes.

I spoke with my friend, J.C. Holt, a little while ago and he is just now getting around to planting his tomato plants. He said this season has been such a busy one that he almost forgot to plant.

J.C. and I are some of the many folks that usually plant a few late tomato plants so we can have tomatoes right up until frost or even later.

Right now would be the perfect time to remove the tomato plants that have suffered from drought-related fungi and diseases or determinate varieties that have quit producing and replace them with fresh plants.

This time of year, I fill in the gaps in my garden with a few different varieties of tomatoes and peppers. This practice allows me to have true home grown tomatoes from now until about Thanksgiving (as long as I remember to protect the plants before a frosty night).

If you are growing tomatoes this year you might be interested in some tomato contests around the state. This month at the Huntsville Botanical Gardens, there will be a heaviest tomato contest. As soon as the date is set, I&8217;ll let you know.

Also, on Saturday, Aug. 26 there will be a heaviest tomato contest and a best tasting tomato contest at the Alabama Farmers Market on Finley Avenue in Birmingham.

The heaviest tomato will be weighed on the official scales by the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries, Weights and Measures division. The best tasting tomato will be judged by a panel of five qualified judges with a true love for tomatoes.

Grow those tomatoes big and juicy and enter them in these contests. There are even categories for children and junior gardeners in some of the contests.

We&8217;ll have a look at some of the disease problems that the Extension System Agents are finding on tomatoes next week.

For more on these and other gardening tips listen to Home Grown Tomatoes Saturday mornings from 6-8 on 101.1 FM, The Source and log on to http://HGTradio.net