Sunday, October 31, 2010

Good Morning, 'Maters.

I like these mornings during vegetable season ... I get up when it's dark, get the kids off to school, and spend a few minutes with the tomatoes before going to work.

It's nice.

I know people have very strong opinions about organic versus non-organic, and what kind of growing medium is best, and even what variety of tomato is best, but I'm not really a "point of view" gardener. I'm not really trying to impose my belief system on the garden. I think I've tried almost everything, and you know what? I've grown good tomatoes almost every way. I've harvested excellent, tasty tomatoes with regular Miracle-Gro tomato fertilizer and common bagged soil—just like I've harvested awesome tomatoes with high-end micronutrient foliar sprays, exotic organic fertilizer blends, homemade compost, and custom soil mixes. I've eaten good tomatoes from the ground, containers and Earthboxes.

I would never want to make it seem harder than it is. If anyone was to ask me, "What's the best way to grow vegetables?" I'd say: every day, bit by bit.

No matter what other choices you make, I think if you're willing to spend a little time every morning with your plants (or at least every other morning), everything will be fine. Give them water on a consistent schedule (I actually water every day), feed small amounts of food consistently, and mostly, pay attention. Your plants will do a remarkable job of telling you what's going on. Do you see spots on leaves? Yellow streaking? Are there holes chewed in the leaves? Are they surrounded by flies? Are the blossoms dropping off or setting fruit? Is the fruit developing normally?

The only way to really find out what's going on is just to keep an eye open for it. And chances are, it will be easier to deal with than you think.

So these are easy, rhythmic days. Watering, watching, feeding weekly, tying up the vines as they grow, and plucking off suckers. Really, there are much worse ways to start a day.

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