Homegrown tomatoes are by far the most popular of all vegetables that gardeners plant in our part of the country. Nothing compares to the sweet taste of these red luscious fruits. Picked straight from the vine, cut into thin slices and added to two toasted slices of bread that are slathered with mayonnaise and sprinkled with a bit of salt and pepper makes such a delicious sandwich. Only home-grown tomatoes should be used for this recipe.

Tomatoes come in so many different varieties that it can be really hard to pick which varieties to add to your garden each season.

I would suggest planting some bigger varieties alone with some of the smaller varieties that will still set fruit after your larger varieties have stopped.

Plant your tomato transplants at least 4 feet apart for good air circulation, which can help to prevent disease and pest problems.

If you plan on using tomato cages be sure to do so before the plants get too large to fit into a cage.

Over the years, I’ve had several older gardeners tell me how successful they are when planting their tomato transplants down sideways in shallow trenches covered with compost up to their first leaves.

This way the plants will produce roots all along the stem and produce earlier fruits.

All vegetables require frequent fertilization, watering and protection from pests.

Daily checking on your plants will help to spot trouble before it gets out of hand.

Until next time, let’s all try to garden with nature, not against it, and maybe all our weeds will become wildflowers.

Laurie Garretson is a Victoria gardener and nursery owner. Send your gardening questions to la[email protected] or in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77902.