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Gracie's Plant Works botanical treasures

Early Spring 2014

Gardeners all over Ely experienced a poor tomato crop last summer, due to the cold, cloudy, wet months of July and August. Can anyone remember the 45 deg temperatures at the Blueberry Fest? A few suggestions for heightened success and disease prevention this year: 1. Space the plants two feet apart 2. Prune the suckers. You want airflow through the plant to keep the leaves dry 3. Many tomato problems arise from uneven moisture in the soil. Mulch your tomato plants to maintain even soil moisture. 4. Rotate your crops and don't plant tomatoes where members of the nightshade family (Solanaceae, which includes tomatoes, peppers, eggplants,and potatoes) have grown in the last three years. If you CAN'T rotate, then be sure to police your area well by removing diseased plants, cleaning up all debris in the fall, and adding organic amendments to your soil before planting. 5. Consider season extension methods such as wall o' waters, black plastic mulch, and low tunnels. 6. Don't plant them out too early. The soil must be warmed before you plant, or they risk rotting, dampening off, or being nicked by a late frost. Trust me, they'll catch up. 7. Most importantly, choose varieties that will grow in your climate. We'll cover more tomato tips and a guide for selecting the right variety in an upcoming issue.

Trim these suckers

The Buzz on Grafted Tomatoes

When it comes to tomatoes, it's hard to resist the notion of more abundant fruit on hardier plants, especially with our too-short Minnesota summers. Grafting tomatoes may well be the best thing to come along since hybridization efforts began in the 1920s and '30s. The fundamental idea is not new; apple growers have grafted desirable scions (the above-ground part of the tree) to hardy, coldand disease- tolerant rootstocks for years. While grafting is a relatively new sensation in the United States, grafted tomatoes are mainstream in Crete and India. So, what's all the buzz? Basically, you can select the scion of a variety with great flavor and quality of fruit, and marry it with a vigorous, disease-resistant rootstock. Grafting an openpollinated scion on rootstock gives you not just the disease resistance, but also vigor and increased yield. Â In short, grafted tomatoes can bring you the best of both worlds. This year, Gracie's Plant Works will be offering BLACK KRIM grafted tomatoes, as well as a small variety of our heirlooms grafted in-house with disease resistant rootstocks.

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Volume 1, Number 2 March 12th, 2014

ĂşGracie's Plant Works 2014

1485 Grant McMahan Blvd. Ely, Mn


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