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Tomato Patch: The killers are back

Male cicada killer “on guard” I ducked involuntarily as a big “something” buzzed my head as I was weeding in the Tomato Patch. An inquisitive hummingbird? A wren parent distracting me from a nearby fledgling? A pterodactyl? No, it was…

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Tomato Patch: Brush your tomato blossoms?

Would you really do it? Did you brush your tomato blossoms today? Patterson Clark’s “Urban Jungle” feature, “Plight of the bumblebee,” in the Washington Post this week reminded me of the continuing discussion about how tomato plants are pollinated. Patterson’s…

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Tomato Patch: Tips for tieing

Jute, a biodegradable tie If your tomato plants are becoming unruly, it’s time to discipline them a bit—tieing* them, in other words. I began tieing my plants the other day. I knew it was time because they were all but…

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Tomato Patch: Stan Picks before the Fourth

Stan’s a man of his word In late May I posted about whether plant protectors give tomato plants a head start in cool, spring weather. In that posting I interviewed Stan Purwin, who has a plot at West Side Community…

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Tomato Patch: Lemon or lemonade?

Curled & blistered Virginia Sweets leaf “When life gives you a lemon,” the optimist says, “make lemonade.” In a previous Tomato Patch posting, I described how super-hot weather in early June, new transplants with poorly developed root systems, and fumes…

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Tomato Patch: Pinch that Sucker?

Sucker at tip of arrowLeaf stem to left of suckerMain stem to right of sucker I am a sometimes sucker pincher. Sometimes I pinch them. Sometimes I don’t. Every year I vow to pinch them, but usually I pinch them…

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Tomato Patch: Setback or disaster?

Curled tomato leaf Sickly—that’s the word. Thirteen of my 23 tomato plants look sick, very sick. Is this a disaster—or just a setback? I set out my plants on May 30, and they seemed to flourish. I mulched and caged…

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