78011abbbf818853ba5a72e295bba1c7

Vine Ripened Pleasures

The H.J. Heinz Company uses more tomatoes than any other company in the world; over four billion pounds every year.

Last year Heinz paid about four cents per pound to its network of tomato growers.

Just a few days ago, Newsweek reported that the H.J. Heinz Co. may be able to negotiate a 10 percent decrease in their four cents per pound price. If they can do it, this will get Heinz tomato costs down to about 3.6 cents per pound, significantly raising its profit margins. Wow!

What would life be without homegrown tomatoes? Heirloom varieties, like these, seem to be what most home gardeners now prefer.Shares of the H. J. Heinz Co. on the NYSE are currently trading at about $. J. Heinz company45.82. Right now I’d say Heinz is a “buy” recommendation.  .  .  the stock that is, not the tomatoes.

Tomatoes at the supermarket deserve all the negative comments they get; they’re awful. The skins are as tough as a plastic soda bottle. They taste like wet Styrofoam and wedges in a salad from a store-bought tomato need to be cut with a steak knife.

These tomato imposters are because commercially grown tomatoes are bred to withstand rough treatment, produce their fruit all at once and are picked way before they are ripe. Just compare a store-bought tomato with a home-grown, vine-ripened tomato. You can taste the difference, smell the difference and feel the difference.

What would life be without homegrown tomatoes? A long, sizzling summer devoid of fresh-off-the-vine tomatoes would be pretty bland, and while traditional hybrid favorites satisfy some tastes, heirloom tomatoes seem to be what most home tomato gardeners prefer.

"Heirloom" means a tomato that has been grown from the seed of a plant that was pollinated the old-fashioned way, via birds, bees and wind. Unlike hybrids, heirlooms produce in a way that is true to type, meaning there is little variation in the fruit from one generation to the next.

There’s no absolute rule, but most experts say that an heirloom variety should date back at least 50 years. Most heirlooms have remained popular because they are prolific producers, resist disease and especially because they boast superior flavor.

The origins of these heirlooms are varied: the red 'Brandywine' is of Amish descent, dating back to the late1800s; 'Jaune Flamme' is a French descendant; 'Cherokee Purple,' is rumored to have been grown by the Cherokee Indians of North Carolina, 'Stupice' has Czechoslovakian roots.

Heirloom tomatoes run the gamut of sizes, shapes, colors and flavors. 'Green Grape' and 'Black Cherry' are bite-sized. Huge ‘Aunt Ruby’s German Green’, one of my personal favorites, is an all green tomato with great flavor. 'Garden Peach' has peach-type fuzz on the skin, with a sweet citrus-like flavor.

If you've been growing tomatoes for a few years, you probably already have a favorite. Nonetheless, it’s always fun to try something new and the beginning of April is a perfect time to choose your tomatoes and get them in the ground.

Choose a sunny spot and add prepare the soil. I add a healthy amount of home compost and blend it thoroughly with your soil, but a good organic, blended soil amendment will suffice. Harvest Supreme is a good brand to look for. Add a little granular organic fertilizer into the same mix and blend it all together to a depth of about 12 to 15 inches and at least as wide.

Set the tomato into the soil with only about four or five inches showing. That’s right, bury your tomato, leaves and all, and you will have a healthier, more vigorous and well rooted plant.

If not immediately, pretty quickly surround the little plant with a large, sturdy tomato cage. Please don’t waste your time or money on the cheap little five dollar tomato cages that are everywhere. In ten weeks, when your little four inch tomato is six feet tall and laden with big, heavy, plump tomatoes you will know why. Trust me on this one.

Now, just keep it watered and add another shot of fertilizer in about six weeks. As the plant grows and tries to escape its cage, occasionally push the tips of the plant back inside.

If you’re growing a medium-size six-ounce tomato you should expect about 20 to 40 tomatoes per plant, but sometimes many more. That’s a total of about 11 pounds of delicious, flavorful tomatoes. Most families need two or three plants.

Or, you could contact the H. J. Heinz Co. and cash in on your 40 cents worth of tomatoes.

Ron Vanderhoff is the Nursery Manager at Roger’s Gardens in Corona del Mar. You can learn more about Ron, including more of his plant recommendations on his Featured Experts page or visit his profile at www.themulch.com/mulch-community/609-ron-vanderhoff/profile
 
Questions from Readers April 3rd
Question:

Where do I find out more about the rebates on the new water saving sprinkler heads?

Bruce, Costa Mesa

Answer:

For most citizens in OC, including those in Costa Mesa, you can find out more about all the water efficiency landscape rebates, including sprinklers and irrigation timers at www.socalwatersmart.com. You can even download the rebate form from here.

 
 

Save


Plant Care Reminders

Pruning spring shrubs
Shrubs Kate Copsey

How to Prune Azaleas and Other Spring Flowering Shrubs

Spring is almost over in the south, and those wonderful blooms that lit up the landscape have fallen off in favor of late spring flowers and shady trees.
Fig Monthly Plant Care
Edibles Steve Brigham

Fig Tree (Ficus carica) - Monthly Plant Care Calendar

You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!

Cabbage (Brassica oleracea) - Monthly…

814 San Diego Seed Company
Swiss Chard Plant Care
You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!

Collards (Brassica oleracea ssp.…

3359 Julie Bawden-Davis
Collards Monthly Plant Care
You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!

Fuchsia (Fuchsia hybrida) - Monthly…

3337 Julie Bawden-Davis
Fucshia hybrid Monthly Plant Care Reminders
You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!

Gardening Articles

Zuchini Blossom
Seasonal Gardening Kate Copsey

The Southern Vegetable Garden in Summer

Summer is synonymous with fresh tomatoes, sweet corn and watermelon.
Water Fall

10 Tips on Water-Wise Landscaping

Water is one of the precious and most valuable resources on this earth.

2010 Perennial Plant of the Year - Baptisia australis

2792
Default Image
Blue false indigo grows three to four feet tall and three to four feet wide in an upright…

Walter Andersen - Southwest

8159
Walter Andersen
Region: Southwest

Expert Tips for Creating a Show Stopping Fall Landscape - APLD

4960
DiPrisco Meadow Garden
The kids are back at school, football games have kicked off and in some parts of the…

Plant Recommendations

Alcea rosea
Plant Recommendations Maureen Austin

Biennials for Birds & Butterflies - Southern California

Maureen Austins' Top Plant Recommendation: Favorite Biennials for Birds & Butterflies for Southern California.
Phalaenopsis
Plant Recommendations walter andersen

Orchids - Southern California

Walter Andersen's Top Plant Recommendation: Favorite Orchids for Southern California. 

Fire Safe Plants - Southern California

6132 Dave Ehrlinger
Dudleya pulverulenta
Dave Ehrlinger's Top Plant Recommendation: Favorite Fire Safe Plants for Southern…

Excellent Flowering Plants for the…

11356 Vicky Giannangelo
Aquilegia hybrida 'Origami'
Frank & Vickies Plant Recommendations: Excellent Flowering Plants for the Desert -…

Trees for Smaller Gardens - Southern…

9927 Brad Monroe
Tabebuia ipe
Brad Monroe's Top Plant Recommendation: Favorite Trees for Smaller Gardens for Southern…

Featured Plant Care

Avocado Monthly Plant Care

Avocado - Haas (Persea americana 'Haas') - Monthly Plant Care Calendar

in Edibles
You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!
Camellia Monthly Plant Care

Camellia (Camellia spp) - Monthly Plant Care Calendar

in Shrubs
You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!
Gardenia Monthly Plant Care

Cape Jasmine (Gardenia augusta) - Monthly Plant Care Calendar

in Shrubs
You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!
Swiss Chard Plant Care

Cabbage (Brassica oleracea) - Monthly Plant Care Calendar

in Edibles
You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!

Latest Articles

Edit Your Tagged Photos!

How to Edit or Remove A Plant "Tag" In Your Garden Photos

Instead of 'Tagging' your friends on Facebook, now you can 'Tag' your Plants in your…
Seed Starting

10 Easy Cut Flowers to Direct Sow

in Seeds
A cut-flower garden or "cutting garden" allows you to bring the beauty of your garden…
New Plants Added to Database and Tour cgm707's garden!

Do You Have Any Plants You'd Like Me To Add For You?

Our website has so much information being added and updated that I decided to post an…
Six things for your indoor plants during winter

Do These Six Things to Keep Indoor Plants Healthy During Winter

Winter has hit southern California along with the rest of the U.S. No polar vortex here,…

Popular Articles

Baseball Field Maintenance

Baseball Field Maintenance - A General Guide for Fields of All Levels

in Lawn
More great baseball field resources can be found here (including a pdf version of this…
Queen Palm Care & Use

The Queen Palm (Syagrus romanzoffiana) Care & Use

in Trees
Jungle Music Palms and Cycads is a family owned and operated business established in 1977
Microgreens

What are Microgreens and How to Grow Them

in Edibles
Microgreens are tiny leafed vegetables that are grown from seed and require very little…
Kahili Ginger Plant Care

Hedychium gardnerianum (Kahili Ginger) - Monthly Plant Care Calendar

You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!

User Guides (Slide)

Popular Recommendations (Slide)

Upcoming Events

Sorry, we currently have no events.
View All Events

Who's Online

We have 9494 guests and one member online

  • MaryAhernArtist