Tomatoes for a shorter growing season
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