The first green tomato of the season

Submitted by OcracokeWaves on Sun, 04/25/2010 - 12:15.
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Sometimes spring surprises me.  We have not had what I would call a particularly warm spring, but a few days ago when I was tying up my tomato plants, I noticed my first green tomato.

I planted my tomato plants on March 24 this year.  As someone who lived on a farm in Canada for years, that date still shocks me for a moment until I remember my North Carolina roots.

Still even for the North Carolina where I grew up near Winston-Salem in the Piedmont area, you would not plant tomatoes in March.  My mother, who was a wonderful gardener, always tried to have tomatoes by July 1.  Her Mount Airy, NC gardens are still producing tomatoes for the Hesters who run the Sobotta Manor B&B from our old home.

There will be challenges in getting those June tomatoes.  The tomato horn worms can literally defoliate plants in a matter of days.  I finally learned to use a powder to kill the prolific hornworms that attacked my plants.

I have learned a lot since my first planting season on the coast in the spring of 2007, but the weather still has to cooperate to help us get those early fruits of the soil.

Last year my magic ingredient was some lobster mulch that was a gift from my oldest daughter.  I used it liberally this year.  It might be almost as good as the much valued and well composted chicken manure that I used to count on to keep my plants growing.

I am just glad that my spring ritual of growing tomatoes is now played out here on the coast where marauding deer haven't found us.

Maybe I should try composting some blue crab shells for my next secret ingredient.  Actually it would be more appropriate if I made fiddler crab mulch since they often try to eat the ripe tomatoes in July and August.


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