Tomato Blight

This is an excellent account from a farmer about the problems with Tomato Blight and commercial agriculture.  A must read.  It speaks to the spread of disease, but like we have witnessed the spread of health crisis in the past.  The question is – do we ban all shipment of plants and thrwat commercial agriculture?  Do we set up subsidies for farmers at risk of losing a big percentage of their annual income?  What is the solution to this?  Email me here, if you have some thoughts –      

Organic Tomatoes

UC Davis, those smarties down in California, just released a 10-year study comparing the “Influence of Organic and Conventional Crop Management Practices on the Content of Flavonoids in Tomatoes”.  Flavonoids are “plant secondary metabolites” and are commonly known for their antioxidant qualities. They also help the plant produce pigment which in turn attracts polliantors. You know, all the good stuff. You can read the study here, but in essence organic tomatoes contain higher levels of minerals.  The study compared conventionally grown fruits to those grown on organic plots over the course of 10 (!) years, and noted the nutritent content.  If you take the time to read, you will note that they attribute this to increased amounts of organic matter in the soil, and the decreased need to add manures (ie fertilizer) to the gardens. This is exactly what I encourage urban gardeners to do at home – practice crop … Continue reading

How & Why to Prune Tomatoes

Come summertime, when the air is hot and the sun is high, everyone comes down with a little case of tomato-fever. I’m not sure how this plant entered such epochal proportions as to measure the success of a home gardener, but it has. It seems if you can grow a good tomato, you’ll be awarded with some stamp-of-approval from the tomato gods. With that, here is one more demystified trick for you to consider. TOMATO SUCKERS are the small sets of leaves that grow between the main stem, and a leafy branch of tomato plants. These suckers, if left to grow, will be one more flowering & fruiting stem for the plant. These additional fruits will ultimately compete for nutrients from the plant, and over time lessen the chances of all fruit coming to delicious maturity. Our NW season, in particular, can not support such prolific tomato production. Our summers … Continue reading

Urban Garden Share in the Toronto Star

Got a little shout out from CANADA today! Super cool, I thought.  Not only because it’s my first piece of international press , but because it’s a great article that speaks to both the idea of community and people getting in touch with their food. I’m starting to sound like a REAL. CHEESEBALL. when I talk about connecting people with their food, but I’m slowly realizing just how important it is. Both to me, personally, and to this little thing we call mother earth.  You can also read here about how the Obama administration is turning it’s eye to global agriculture recently.  A nice short eye-opener to keep you abreast on the (slow) work being done to change policy.(even if it refers to GMOs as part of the solution – you know how I feel about that.)