Hairy Stems and Burying Tomato Starts
Thanks to everyone who came to this month’s DIG IT class, Tomatoes 101, on the first Saturday of April! We had our largest turnout ever with lots of enthusiasm and great questions. We covered a lot of tomato growing tips, but the one I can’t stress enough is burying your tomato starts deeply. Take a close look at your tomato and you’ll notice lots of tiny silver “hairs” growing from the main stem of the plant. All of the “hairs” that are buried beneath the surface will grow into roots from the stem and ensure that you have a much stronger, healthier plant. You don’t need to cut or trim any branches or leaves from the tomato start before planting – just dig a deep, wide hole and drop it in! I recommend burying it up to the highest or second highest “v” in your plant where a branch splits off from the main stem. It may seem counterintuitive, but trust me! You’ll thank me come harvest time later in the summer.
VEGETABLE OF THE DAY: RED TORPEDO ONIONS
Lately I’ve been harvesting lots of onions and for the small space gardener, the red torpedo onion is a great choice! Their smaller torpedo shaped bulbs are mild, sweet, and a striking red and pink, while the tops can be used like green onions or scallions. You can even cut the green tops while the onion is growing to flavor eggs, soups, and other dishes without doing any harm to the plant or the small bulb beneath the ground. Since the bulbs don’t grow as large as your traditional red or yellow onion, they can be planted closer together and take up much less space if you have limited real estate in your garden. Need more convincing? Planting any onions such as the red torpedo has the added bonus of keeping harmful insects away from your favorite veggies – their strong smell detracts destructive critters!
HERBS AND EDIBLE FLOWERS
Although we’re all excited about planting our favorite summer vegetables, don’t forget about your herbs and edible flowers! If you have a small garden, you may think that you don’t have the space, but there’s always a way to find room for delicious herbs and edible flowers in both raised and in-ground beds. Simply plant them along the borders and encourage them to grow and cascade over the edges and away from the center of your bed. This way you’ll have herbs for all your cooking needs and edible flowers to sprinkle into your salads without taking up valuable space for your vegetables. What’s more, edible flowers and herbs are a great way to attract bees, hummingbirds, pollinators, and beneficial insects to your garden!
PHOTO CREDITS HOMESTEAD DESIGN COLLECTIVE
Back by popular demand: Movies in the Meadow is happening again this summer at Bay Meadows! Save the date for our beloved summer movie in the park series – we’ll be featuring three movies on three nights – June 15, July 13, and August 18. Join us to enjoy a night market with talented local artisans and vendors, food trucks dishing out delicious fare, and a great movie under the stars. Also keep an eye out for our Garden to Fork event in mid-April and check out our Facebook page for more events