Use Plastic Mulch For Earlier Tomatoes And Melons

There’s only one thing better than homegrown vine-ripened tomatoes and melons. That’s enjoying them sooner. There’s an easy and efficient way to coax tomatoes, cantaloupe, watermelon, peppers and all heat-loving vegetables to bear earlier: use clear plastic mulch to warm the soil. I first heard of the technique about 45 years ago, as area universities…
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The Quest For The Best Tomato

Tomatoes have long been America’s most-planted garden vegetable. But with a dizzying array of hundreds of named varieties, which are the best? For most of us, the top criteria for the “best” tomato is taste. And it must be decent size and ripening timely for our region. How should a tomato taste? That’s hard to…
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The Sweetest Cherry Tomato For Home Gardens

A few years ago I was walking into the main building of the beautiful University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum after a full day of touring. Off to the side was a table with a row of bowls, each containing a different cherry tomato variety. As I was hurrying past, a pleasant lady called out “Would…
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How To Ripen The Last Tomatoes Of The Season

Jack Frost is such a kill-joy when he brings the tomato season officially to an end. We can gather all our old bedsheets and cover plants for a few nights, but cool temperatures just don’t ripen the last of the tomatoes. There are plenty of recipes using green tomatoes for “mock apple pie” and green…
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Benefits Of Mulching Tomatoes

It’s no wonder the tomato remains America’s most popular homegrown vegetable. I’m glad grocery stores offer tomatoes, because the tasteless produce makes us savor our garden tomatoes all the more. In fact, a few years ago I conducted a homegrown tomato taste-test of various popular garden varieties. I snuck in a store-bought tomato also. One of the panelists, upon…
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