Toma­toes for a shorter grow­ing sea­son

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - HOMES - By Ger­ald Filip­ski

QUES­TION: I hope you can help me with a ques­tion I have about toma­toes. I am look­ing for a va­ri­ety of tomato that’s larger than early ones I have grown in the past. I am not sure if such a plant ex­ists, but I re­ally would like to get away from grow­ing early types that pro­duce small fruit. In the past, I have grown Early Girl and Sub­Arc­tic Maxi, and those gave me fruit about five cen­time­tres across. I’m look­ing for some­thing in the Beef­steak­sized range

AN­SWER: One va­ri­ety that comes to mind is Ore­gon Spring. This tomato was de­vel­oped at the Uni­ver­sity of Ore­gon and is cold-tol­er­ant and in­tended for use in short-sea­son grow­ing ar­eas. The fruit ma­tures in 58 days. The com­pact vines re­sist cold weather and pro­duce juicy, tasty 10-cen­time­tre fruit. The seeds for this tomato are avail­able through most seed com­pa­nies.

Man­i­toba is an­other good va­ri­ety that is well suited to short sea­sons. This tomato ma­tures in 60 days and the fruit can get to 10 cen­time­tres across as well. This is an heirloom tomato, so find­ing the seeds may be a lit­tle more work. Check out Heirloom Seeds on­line ( heir­loom­seeds.com/toma­toes.htm).

As an aside, I was pleas­antly sur­prised to see that at the gar­den cen­tres where I’ve been pok­ing around, sev­eral of the seed com­pany dis­plays have pack­ets of veg­etable seeds that are la­belled for con­tainer or pa­tio use. This is just an­other ex­am­ple of how plant breed­ers and the seed com­pa­nies are pay­ing at­ten­tion to con­sumer de­mand, and that de­mand is for more and more space-ef­fi­cient plants that can be grown in con­tain­ers. There’s re­ally no rea­son now for any­one not to be able to grow at least some of their own veg­eta­bles in con­tain­ers. Two ex­am­ples from Macken­zie Seeds are its Provence peas, which are clearly la­belled as be­ing ideal for con­tain­ers, and its Lit­tle Blue pep­per, which is not only ed­i­ble, but also dec­o­ra­tive, with its tiny, bright pur­ple pep­pers.

QUES­TION: I had a prob­lem sev­eral years ago with sawflies on my spruce trees. Thanks to ad­vice in one of your col­umns, I ap­plied Dok­tor Doom Resid­ual spray around the base of the trees and found the treat­ment very ef­fec­tive in con­trol­ling the prob­lem. Thank you for that. Now, my ques­tion is about ants. Can I use the Dok­tor Doom on the ant prob­lem I have around my house? I can’t be­lieve I am see­ing them al­ready.

AN­SWER: I rec­om­mend the Dok­tor Doom prod­ucts be­cause I use them and know they work. Dok­tor Doom Resid­ual is ex­cel­lent for con­trol­ling ants. Ap­ply the spray on the path you see the ants trav­el­ling on as well around and on any anthills you can find. It is im­por­tant that you use the Dok­tor Doom Resid­ual be­cause the resid­ual ac­tion of this prod­uct means it stays ef­fec­tive longer.

QUES­TION: Should I be prun­ing my way­far­ing tree? It is about seven or eight years old, a lit­tle over two me­tres tall and is in good health. A lot of new shoots have been grow­ing out of the base for the past few years and it has be­come quite dense. Should I trim back the older wood and al­low the new shoots to take over, trim back the new shoots and al­low the older wood to re­main, or leave it alone and en­joy it? It is re­ally a beau­ti­ful bush with lovely white flow­ers in the spring, and the birds seem to re­ally en­joy the dense­ness pro­vided by the large, dark leaves.

AN­SWER: As with a lot of prun­ing, it is up to the gar­dener to de­cide whether to keep a shrub or tree neat and tidy. Way­far­ing trees can take prun­ing, so it will not harm it. What you don’t want to hap­pen is for the new branches to be­come so thick they im­pede the air cir­cu­la­tion in the tree. If it were mine, I’d re­move the new shoots that I felt were not con­tribut­ing to the es­thet­ics of the tree or ones that were be­com­ing crowded.

— Canwest News Ser­vice

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