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Speed-Up-the-Tomato-Harvest-THUMB.jpg

Speed Up the Tomato Harvest

Last summer it took forever for my tomatoes to produce ripe fruit. Is there anything I can do to speed things up this season?

A cool wet growing season can delay the tomato harvest. You can compensate for cool temperatures and start harvesting earlier with the help of floating row covers. These polypropylene spun fabrics let air, light and water through while trapping the heat around the plants. They are sold in garden centers and catalogues under names such as ReeMay, Harvest-Guard and Grass-Fast. Start by preparing the planting area. Plant your tomatoes and other warm weather vegetables as normal. Then loosely cover the row or bed with one of these products. Anchor the edges with rocks, boards or other materials. As the plants grow they will support the material. Or wrap tomato towers (tops and sides) with the fabric. I often leave my coverings in place until the plants start to bloom and the bees need access to pollinate some of the plants This protects them from the cold evenings that often occur early in the season. With a little effort you will be the first in your neighborhood to eat fresh-from-the-garden tomatoes.

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