There's nothing quite like the taste of a freshly picked home-grown tomato.
If you have noticed a drop in production with the full heat of summer, there are a few simple things which will keep not only your tomatoes, but all vegies, healthy and productive:
Deep watering around the base of the plant is critical. Water early in the morning to allow the plants to dry out before night time as wet leaves for extended periods can lead to disease.
Mulch around the base of plants with 3 to 4 inches of organic material to help keep the roots cool and conserve water.
Watch for signs of mildew and disease brought on by heat and humidity and remove and dispose of any diseased or damaged leaves or fruit.
Keep the area around plants clear of fallen plant material and encourage air circulation.
Suggestions for dealing with an abundance of tomatoes, other than savouring their deliciousness fresh from the plant, include making passata, puree, salsa, tom soup, tomato sauce (for your bbq), spaghetti or pasta sauce or freezing, bottling or drying them.
Continue picking summer vegetables such as tomatoes, eggplant, beans, capsicum, cucumbers and zucchini.
Pick thyme, marjoram, lavender and sage and dry them so you can enjoy them all year round. Tie in small bunches with string and hang inside to dry.
Start thinking about winter crops. If you haven't done so already, sow seeds of winter cabbage, brussels sprouts, kale, broccoli and cauliflower into punnets now to give a head start when the weather cools. Also continue planting seedlings of leeks, Chinese cabbage, tatsoi and rocket. Blood and bone will kick them along.
You can continue to transplant strawberry runners up until about mid April.
Read more about gardening:
A reminder that Armidale show is coming up on March 4 and 5.
If you have had success with some produce in your vegie garden this year, or maybe made some jams, pickles or chutneys, consider showing some of it off and entering it into the Farm Produce or Jams and Preserves sections of our local show.
Entries can be submitted on Wednesday March 2 between 3 and 6pm or on Thursday 3 March between 7:30 and 9am. Head to www.armidaleshow.org.au for more info.
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