Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Tomatoes at last

I got great news today from Michele Scicolone, the adoptive gardener of our tomato seedlings and a neighborhood friend. Finally, after months of rain and waiting, she sent photos of the tomato plants and I'm happy to report that they're growing strong and ready to provide fruit. It's been a tough summer for us. We were never able to plant our own urban garden because of construction on our terraces. So, it's nice to see that our seedlings have found a good home and are being productive!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Blitzing Blossom End Rot with Hoffman Tomato Food

So, August is the time to reap the fruit of Spring's labor. When our tomato plants begin to shower us with juicy, red orbs, ready to eat.
But often, the early crop is marred by ugly black scars at the fruit's bottom. This is the dreaded "blossom end rot," so called because this blot is positioned where the yellow flower once bloomed.
Fret not, tomato growers. There is a cure: Hoffman's Tomato Food 5-10-10. Sprinkle a quarter of a cup of this fertilizer that is 5% nitrogen, 10$ phosphate and 10% potash about 4 inches from the plant stem, work into the top soil and water as usual. The younger fruit should grow unblemished.
Be sure to remove all damaged fruit - it will not taste good and will take up energy that the plant needs to produce new fruit.
We learned the hard way about blossom end rot, which damaged our early harvest for a few years running. Now, we fertilize early and often!
I hear this fertilizer isn't easy to find. In fact, I had to loan our box to my colleague Greg David who has planted his first tomato plants this summer. I'm going to be looking for a place that carries it. If anyone knows, please post here!