Craig LeHoullier is a bonafide tomato expert, having grown over 1,000 varieties of heirlooms (and a few hybrids) in the past few decades. His first book, Epic Tomatoes (Storey Publishing) quickly became a best-seller, and won the 2016 Gold Award from the Garden Writers Association. I recently had the opportunity to chat with Craig and ask him to share some of his experiences, tips and musings on growing tomatoes, the most popular garden vegetable in North America. Here are my five questions with tomato expert Craig LeHoullier:
All gardeners are faced with pernicious weeds from time to time, and the Savvy Gardening experts are no different. Here are some of the worst experiences we’ve ever faced with weeds… and how we tackled them (or at least tried to!).
READ MORE » about Smack-talking weeds: What is the worst in your garden?
One of the most important – and yet often overlooked – facets of gardening is its ability to increase backyard biodiversity. And not just within the plant kingdom. When a garden is composed of a wide range of plant material, the animal kingdom also benefits. Especially insects. Most gardeners know that having a diversity of good bugs in the garden means better pollination and fewer pests. While there are thousands of species of beneficial insects in North America, one of the best bugs for your garden is the ground beetle.
READ MORE » about Invest in a beetle bank
Please excuse the long post as we share a few of our gardening mishaps! Let’s start with Niki.
Niki says: What? Me make garden blunders? Never! OK, occasionally. OK, often, but in my defense, it’s how I do my best learning. The truth is that I’ve made some doozies over the years and though I may look back fondly on them now, at the time, they weren’t so funny.
READ MORE » about Live and learn: Our garden blunders
I love growing beans! In my garden, I grow primarily pole beans, while my mother-in-law grows runner beans. My preference is a result of my childhood veggie garden where tender snap beans occupied at least half of the plot. For my mother-in-law, runner beans are a nod to her own youth in the mountains of Lebanon where the meaty pods were slow simmered into flavourful dishes.
READ MORE » about Growing beans: pole versus runner
This spring when I’m placing and planting ornamentals in the garden, I will be strategic about the flowers I place around my veggie gardens. I had such a problem with Colorado potato beetles last year (they attacked both my tomatillos and my potatoes), I’ve been doing a lot of research on natural pest control. One thing I haven’t really paid much attention to in the past is the idea of planting flowers that will attract beneficial insects that can help control the bad insect populations and others that repel them completely. Certain flowers can also be ground up and stewed in water to create a pest-repelling “tea” that can be used to spray infested areas.
READ MORE » about Using flowers as natural pest control in the garden