Tomato Success with Craig LeHoullier


You're also like a lot of people this year though you're sort of exploring new territory literally you are but a lot of people. There's been this enormous. I mean I was talking again for that story in. The Times talked to thome stearns of high mowing organic seeds and he was saying they had a three hundred percent increase in Gardner Home Gardener sales this year and some weeks. They were up as much as five times normal week to week. And and so many people gardening garden centers or having bumper business even though with the restrictions and so forth on on on shopping. And so you know you're a little bit of a new gardener too because you're new snow as you're absolutely right and the PRI the perfect timing of our move at a time where you know there are some really real challenges and difficulties with covert. I get to go through and share an experience of what it's like to garden in a new zone in a new area when confronted with New Space. New Decisions to make. So I you know all of us you and I are both and there was many of educators and in garden coaches and people who are trying to inspire new gardeners to stay gardens forever. So I'm hoping that opportunity allows me to share what I'm doing the things that succeed the things that go wrong. I'll be very open about all of it and then learn what. I can about gardening in Hendersonville in my particular yard this year. And we'll make some adjustments next year so I am you know. I've been gardening. Forty years to be able to still be as excited about gardening. Forty years into a hobby is just to me It makes it a very unique cobby. Don't you think and we'll also give people the heads up that you've been doing these really fun which I've been coming to. Instagram lives on Fridays. And sometimes at other times Friday afternoons and you're at NC tomato man on instagram. And you people can like ask you questions the new show us how you're doing things and what stage the plants are out and I mean they can just chime in and say what do I do about this. How do I stay that? What so? Let's talk about some of the things I mean I think in Raleigh you grew in Straw bales and in growing bags that were set on the surface of your very famous driveway. Your driveway driveways right. Yes and where? Where are you growing tomatoes and other things now? Are you growing in daggs in bales? Are you growing in the ground? What are you doing now? So we're we have about a quarter of nacre backyard that is quite sunny and but we have our septic field back there so one of the things I did not rush into is getting a shovel and digging up the soil I learned a lot about container gardening. Straw Bale gardening but will focus mostly in container gardening. And we'll definitely growing. I garden for years and years and years traditional garden. And so you never really forget about that experience. But it's it's a work in progress because I've got. Let's see twenty nine plants planted but another seventy or eighty that needs to get in there and they will probably go into ten gallon. Containers grow bags. You know. Maybe some going container. So it's you're catching me where it's a work in progress and figuring out day by day as I go along. What's the worst thing you ever did to a tomato may? Maybe the worst thing that ever did to to a tomato when it still rewarded me is we do seedling. Sales in the spring and all gardeners have lots of things that you don't sell. Don't get given away get forgotten. They just sit there so I had some sun goals that were at least two months past sales type they were. They were a foot and a half tall of just a stem with maybe a few leaves coming off it and they even. They didn't look very good. So I'd find those and thinking. Oh I've got space for another son Gold and they just bury. It is deep as I can and it leaves out in it produces delicious son go so I guess. The moral of the story is tomatoes. Tough gardeners I think in general especially new gardeners really. Don't WanNa make mistakes and we tend to maybe over care for and baby are plants. And I've learned through the years that tomatoes really do respond well to some tough love along the way. There's very few things that actually will kill them and make them disappear. Some of those things have teeth and But yeah they're very forgiving and You know we'll probably talk through some tips in this in this chat we have about what do you do? What are the things to do to help build in quality from the Front? And what are the things you do over the course of a season to ward off really sad stories and just put a smile on your face at the end of the season. Because you've you've succeeded you've got what you want. You've got delicious tomatoes and on the table in jars in the Freezer. So you just talked about that stretched out spindly overgrown overdue transplant of the Sun. Gold and how you can really deep also up north. We haven't planted because it's been snowing and stuff and even in a lot of other places people quite a bit to the south halfway between you and me or more people have had some frosts recently. It's been really nutty so not to worry. If you haven't planted yet folks I have a friend who even here up north one year. He was so busy with work assignments. He didn't plant tomatoes till July fourth weekend and he had the best rocky ever had but one of the things with an overgrown planners Finley plant like you said is planet really deep because they can make those adventitious roots off the stem right. There are plant. That can do that. So they can. Really root in Super deep not suffocating. It right absolutely and I actually also plant eggplant peppers deeply a As a few friends of call me I tend to be a bit of a rule breaker and yes. I read books and I read blogs but then I kind of put my thinking cap on and I think why can't I try this? And it has helped me to develop some new variations on techniques through the year and You know succeed more often than not. So we'RE GONNA WE'RE GONNA plant deep. I plant even a normal six inch. Kind of a seedling. Stout small seedling. That's maybe six weeks or so growing. Muno that I might have grown myself. I plant them deep. Do you take off the lower leaves. Do you create a splash like barrier to get prevents fungal spores from the soil from getting up onto that plant. Like what's your sort of I. How do I put it in the ground? And what am I thinking about? When I'm transplanting? So great question and it's a it's a really wonderful thing for beginners to consider as well because You may you may be looking to garden area. That's been gardened a long time he may be looking at something that you're just digging for the first time yourself. You may have a container. I think it's really good right from the start Your stand we're kind of soil you've got so is it. Does it dream? Is You if you dig a hole in? It rains that rain still there the next day or do you dig a hole in it. Rains and the water gone in five seconds. That tells you if you're to sandy during too quickly you're not retaining water so those roots are always going to be searching or if you've just got so much So much of a barrier to drainage that your roots are literally going to drown the plants. GonNa look like it's dry because it's wilting. But it's actually drowning because it's not getting oxygen so working organic matter and soil and maybe sending the sample off to an extension service just to get an idea if your three main trans n. p. k. nitrogen phosphorus potassium are in good balance At that point on you just dig a nice like you said Various much as the stem as you can or if you dig deep you can dig. How're you can dig diagonal and kind of been the plant in? Berry that stem because of photo tropism the plant grow up right. It may stick out of the ground bent but it will go right up toward the sun. It's almost like a trench and the two thirds of the stem is below. The root ball is at one end. Say at the left and then the most and sort of been the upper part in the upper couples. That's up and then you fill in that trench and your tomato will again. Can you say it will grow up

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