By Lynn Jenkins
For the Times Sentinel
Be forewarned: It’s my annual tomato rant! It amazes me that the grocery stores stock and sell tomatoes during the summer, because everyone should grow their own and enjoy the best tomato on earth — Hoosier homegrown.
Timing is perfect for planting, and you don’t need a full-blown veggie garden to enjoy this treat. Just a 3- to 4-foot diameter space per plant in a sunny spot, even in the midst of your flower garden, is all that is necessary. And a minimum of six hours or more of sun.
Tomatoes need good loose organic soil for optimum productivity. But if your soil is not ideal, just amend it with some compost. Compost is not the same as fertilizer or potting soil. Be sure you are getting good compost, which is decayed organic matter. This will loosen the soil, help it to drain well, and offer plenty of spots for the beneficial microbes in the soil to do their good work.
Plants are still readily available now. Choosing only one or two is perhaps the hardest part of this garden. I would suggest picking a standard and a cherry tomato — great for a snack as you walk through the garden. I have nine solid wire-fence cages and that limits me to “only” nine plants, which is still way more than I alone can eat! My “always plant” list includes Early Girl (a hybrid and old favorite), Sweet 100 (a red cherry) and Green Zebra (an heirloom.) This year I included a yellow cherry, and started seeds of an heirloom called Japanese Black Truffle to round out my mix. So many heirlooms varieties are now available, along with the exceptional hybrids, it’s best to try an assortment. Hybrids have more vigor and disease resistance, but most folks think the heirlooms win on flavor.
See Wednesday's Times Sentinel for the full story.