July 2006
Home Grown Tomatoes

Is It Too Late to Plant?

Is It Too Late to Plant?

No way; especially those warm season veggies!

In July, I always plant some late tomatoes (indeterminate varieties) and have sometimes harvested them right up to the week before Christmas.

Chilies and other heat loving peppers really don’t even start growing well in some parts of Alabama until the nighttime temperatures are above 65°. If you like chilies as much as I do, try growing some of the thin-walled colored varieties of bell peppers. Purple Beauty and Chocolate Beauty are two of my favorites. They have a milder bell pepper flavor and make a great addition to any lettuce based salad. These also add a nice twist of color to your dinner presentation.

So, by now you should be harvesting some delicious home grown tomatoes. If you have room in your garden, now would be a good time to experiment with some of those tomato varieties that you haven’t tried yet.

How about some heirloom tomatoes? There are hundreds of heirloom tomatoes to choose from. For color, grow the Black Krim, Cherokee Purple or Green Zebra. For different shaped tomatoes, try the Yellow and Red Pear varieties. For the best tasting sauces, grow the Amish Paste. For sheer size (and bragging rights with your gardening friends) try growing some of the German pink types. Not only will you get a huge one to two pound tomato, they taste good too.

Speaking of tasty, big tomatoes, Home Grown Tomatoes is going on the road again next month!

On August 19th, we’ll be at the Decatur Farmers Market for their "Tomato Sandwich Day!" Come on out and have a great tomato sandwich. I’m sure by then, I will have eaten over a hundred tomato sandwiches but I will always have room for one more for as long as I live!

On August 26th, Home Grown Tomatoes will be at the Alabama Farmers Market on Finley Avenue in Birmingham to help them celebrate over eighty years of business.

There will be lots of good food, good music, and plenty of good times for the kids. We’ll have seminars on how to preserve your garden’s bounty provided by the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, how to care for your lawn featuring Michael Vanatta of Environmental Turf and lots more. Also, there will be a heaviest tomato contest for adults as well as kids; and a watermelon seed

spitting contest for the kids. The Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries, Weights and Measures will officiate. I think the Tri-States Rabbit Growers Association will even be there to let us sample some smoked rabbit!

I’ll tell you more about these events in the August issue of our AFC Farming News.

Now go to your local Co-op and get some more plants to fill in your garden!

Kenn Alan presents the radio show "Home Grown Tomatoes" every Saturday morning from 6 till 8 on 101.1 FM, The Source, and offers gardening tips at HGTradio.net, where Home Grown Tomatoes can now be heard live on the Internet by following instructions on the home page!