Black is the new red…for tomatos

Last year was my first attempt at growing food and I chose lettuce, green onion, and bell peppers. I set them up in containers and watched them grow. Unfortunately, I was out-of-town one frightfully hot weekend and although the lettuce and green onion continued producing, that’s when things started going downhill for the bell pepper plant. Later, the lettuce went to seed but not everything was a lost cause: we ended up freezing a ridiculous amount of green onion, which we’re still using!

This year, knowing my schedule, I was hesitant to commit to growing veggies…but last week at the farmers’ market, a large number of vendors were selling beautiful vegetable and herb seedlings. My well-hidden impulsive side reared itself and this past weekend, I ended up buying some black cherry tomato seedlings and a strawberry plant.

I hear that tomatos and strawberries may be more prone to ‘pests’ than lettuce and green onion, so this year, I wanted to try my hand at companion planting. This is where you grow species that either complement each other’s growth or that help ward off the others’ pests. I read that the annual herb, borage (aka starflower), is great for both tomatos and strawberries but unfortunately couldn’t find it at my local garden center (yes, it was a true garden center, not just a big box store). Thus, I’ve decided to go with marigolds. Apparently the fragrance is enough to ward off some pests.

I’ve already staked my tomatos using handmade stakes (can you tell?) and everything looks glorious right now…. We’ll see how things fare in a few weeks’ time. Currently, I’m just hoping that they’ll take root well. Baby steps!

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