Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Home and Garden

Ask Dr. Hort: Follow these tips to get tomatoes in tip-top shape

RECOMMENDED READING


What to do about fused tomato?

Q: I'm relying on your expertise to tell me what might be going on with my tomato. It appears to be two tomatoes fused into one. Half of the tomato is ready to harvest, but the other half remains green. Should I leave it alone so the green side ripens or pick it? Monica Troxel

A: Wow, it's conjoined twins! Isn't nature grand! You could carefully bisect the two, eat the red side and make "fried green tomato" out of the other side or pick it and wait for the other side to ripen. You make the call!

Planting time is key with tomatoes

Q: We vacation here on Anna Maria Island for three months. When we arrive in January we plant tomato plants in containers where they get plenty of sun and we water when dry. We have tried full-size grape and cherry tomatoes but they never seem to get big enough. Now our grape and cherry tomatoes' leaves are shrinking and turning brown. What are we doing wrong? Linda from New Jersey

A: Your tomato troubles start with your planting date. You are planting in between the two main gardening start times, which are August and February. With a warm winter like this year you should have enough warm days to have tomatoes before you head back north. In a normal Florida winter, there are enough chilly nights that will postpone flowering and fruiting until after you head north. The next best thing to do is wait until you get back to New Jersey to plant your tomatoes. If you catch the winter weather next year as warm as it was this year, use a peat-based mix like Pro-Mix, Fafard or Miracle Gro Potting Mix for optimum results; don't use potting soil!

Tips for growing cherry tomatoes

Q: What are the best cherry tomato plants for our area? I'm interested in doing container gardening and could really use your help with what plants would be most productive, disease resistant and can do well here. Gerri

A: To have the most success with cherry-type tomatoes, container gardening is the only way, and a 7-gallon (#7) nursery container works great. The next very important step is the media to put into your container. Peat-based products work best, such as Pro-Mix, Fafard or Miracle Gro Potting Mix. These products are lightweight, absorb fertilizers well and provide excellent drainage, all attributes that most potting soils don't possess. Now comes the fun. You can choose your plants at your local garden center or, better yet, go on Burpee's website (www.burpee.com/vegetables) and search for cherry tomatoes. You'll find the sky is the limit. There are red ones, yellow ones, heirloom ones, round ones, pear-shaped ones, early ones, late ones. You can purchase seeds or plants. One of my favorites is "Sweet 100."

Last is the ideal fertilization program. You want to choose a soluble fertilizer low in nitrogen (the first number for green leafy growth), plenty of phosphorus (the middle number for strong roots and stems) and lots of potassium (the last number for flowering and fruit size), such as Jack's 10-30-20 or Sun Bulb Orchid Bloom Booster 11-35-15, and alternate weekly with calcium nitrate to prevent blossom end rot. Water thoroughly until water weeps through drain holes, as needed. If you follow these guidelines and give plenty of sunshine, you'll be the envy of the neighborhood, your family and your friends!

Comments
Hometown Pasco for Nov. 24

Hometown Pasco for Nov. 24

We want your news!Hometown Pasco is devoted to everyday life in our county, whether it’s snapshots from your family reunion, recreational sporting event, news from your last club meeting or just a few lines thanking someone for a job well done. You ...
Updated: 22 minutes ago
What’s in theaters for Thanksgiving: ‘Coco,’ ‘Last Flag Flying,’ ‘The Man Who Invented Christmas’

What’s in theaters for Thanksgiving: ‘Coco,’ ‘Last Flag Flying,’ ‘The Man Who Invented Christmas’

NOW IN THEATERS:COCODisney-Pixar’s animated dramedy Coco (PG) is inspired by Mexico’s annual Dia de los Muertos, the "day of the dead" when departed ancestors are celebrated. Good for diversity, although the movie isn’t as good as its intentions.Migu...
Updated: 3 hours ago
If you’re going to see ‘A Christmas Carol’ redo, make it ‘The Man Who Invented Christmas’

If you’re going to see ‘A Christmas Carol’ redo, make it ‘The Man Who Invented Christmas’

The last thing this world needs is another rendition of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, likely the most remade, reimagined and ripped off literary property ever. At the same time, the world would be poorer without seeing Ebenezer Scrooge i...
Published: 11/22/17
Hometown Hernando for Nov. 24

Hometown Hernando for Nov. 24

We want your news!Hometown Hernando is devoted to everyday life in our county, whether it’s snapshots from your family reunion, recreational sporting event, news from your last club meeting or just a few lines thanking someone for a job well done. Y...
Published: 11/22/17
‘Roman J. Israel, Esq.’ is a sad waste of Denzel Washington

‘Roman J. Israel, Esq.’ is a sad waste of Denzel Washington

Denzel Washington’s labored portrayal of a shambling legal savant named Roman J. Israel, Esq. is the least of the movie’s worries. This is a story of shifting ethics that should be dramatic, but shaky logic prevents that from happening.Dan Gilroy’s f...
Updated: 1 hour ago
‘Last Flag Flying’ is kind of a puzzling follow-up to 1973’s ‘The Last Detail’

‘Last Flag Flying’ is kind of a puzzling follow-up to 1973’s ‘The Last Detail’

Richard Linklater called 2016’s Everybody Wants Some!! a "spiritual sequel" to his last-century breakout Dazed and Confused. Different characters, same youthful, life-exploring vibe.Linklater’s latest, Last Flag Flying, can be considered a spiritual ...
Published: 11/21/17
Disney-Pixar’s ‘Coco’ has a Dia de los Muertos theme and is, well, lifeless

Disney-Pixar’s ‘Coco’ has a Dia de los Muertos theme and is, well, lifeless

Disney-Pixar’s Coco was more enjoyable three years ago when it was titled The Book of Life and came from Twentieth Century Fox.Both animated features spring from Mexico’s Dia de los Muertos celebration, the annual "day of the dead" when departed rela...
Published: 11/20/17
Updated: 11/21/17
Timely Tendings: Insects, environmental problems can cause premature bud drop

Timely Tendings: Insects, environmental problems can cause premature bud drop

Insects, environmental problems can cause premature bud dropYou may notice premature flower bud drop on hibiscus and gardenia. This can be caused by insects, as well as cultural or environmental problems.Insects called thrips and midges can damage th...
Published: 11/17/17
Updated: 11/21/17
‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ is a study in grief that’s so much more

‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ is a study in grief that’s so much more

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is where Mildred Hayes vents grief over her daughter’s rape and murder, and anger toward a police chief who hasn’t solved the case. Ten words on stark canvases setting off a powder keg of poetic cruelty and u...
Published: 11/16/17
Updated: 11/21/17
Hometown Hernando for Nov. 17

Hometown Hernando for Nov. 17

Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/21/17