You Say Tomato

You Say Tomato

Admit it, you’re longing for big, bodacious tomatoes.

We’re not talking about commercially grown processing tomatoes—those thick-skinned orbs that escape trucks and bounce down Interstate 5. Great tomatoes are home grown. And Sacramento’s long, warm growing season is ripe for the tastiest tomatoes on the planet.

Tomatoes are the most popular home garden vegetable in the country. The bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich, featuring thick slabs of fresh-plucked tomato, is reason enough for the popularity. But BLTs aren’t the only perk.

Pets Or Pests

Pets Or Pests

Sharing gardens with our precious pets means coming to terms with diggers, chewers and poopers. Pets can be weapons of mass destruction. A dog chasing a squirrel has no regard for tulips. Cats don’t ask permission to use the vegetable garden as a restroom.

Ideally, you can mitigate destruction and keep furballs healthy and safe while the garden stays gorgeous and productive. Acceptance and forgiveness make a righteous path. But where you draw the line is a personal choice.

Fiber Optimum

Fiber Optimum

If 2020 seemed like a daily flat tire, begin the New Year with a nutritious edible garden and exercise. Gardening is Mother Nature’s Peloton. Who needs Jenny Craig when homegrown fresh produce is stuffed with healthy low-calorie options?

Growing the right foods may even save or extend your life. Fred Hoffman, Sacramento’s highest-profile gardener, confronted a life-threatening health crisis in 2012. He discovered he had Type 2 diabetes while preparing for quadruple-bypass heart surgery.

It was an abrupt life-or-death wakeup call for the producer/host of the “Garden Basics with Farmer Fred” podcast and radio programs, “The KFBK Garden Show” and “Get Growing with Farmer Fred” on Talk 650 KSTE.

Tool Time

Tool Time

Wacky gardening tools are lurking in dark corners of garages, kitchen drawers, yard sales and local stores. The tool arsenal is more than pricey pruners, digging forks and hand trowels.

One fine morning I stopped at a yard sale in East Sacramento. I spotted two old school metal mailboxes, the type with the red flag that signifies outgoing mail. Both were purchased for a grand total of $5. They are extremely useful for tool storage in a main garden area and will save countless trips back to the house, shed or garage for a needed tool. Mount them on a post for the true postal experience. Stow gloves, hand pruners, and other small gear and accessories.

It’s Personal

It’s Personal

Gardening holds hands with serotonin levels. It’s an organic neurotransmitter, relaying a sense of well-being after a few snips of hand pruners. During the darkness of pandemic and politics, we can discover peace among plants, solace in soil.

What personal enjoyment do you harvest from time spent in the garden? Well, it’s personal, but a few folks opened their hearts.

Growing Together

Growing Together

Weathered, wrinkled and wrapped in a headscarf, the face was all smiles. Cupped in outstretched hands were three cucumbers. “You?” she asked. How could I refuse?

Thanking her, I felt a twinge of guilt for not being able to match her generosity. A language barrier limited communication, but I knew from past growing seasons that she coveted the cantaloupes growing a few feet away in my community garden plot. None were ripe that day, but there would be cantaloupes to share in days to come.

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