Tomato growing tips: There is nothing like the aroma and taste of a freshly picked tomato from your very own garden

As you bite into a juicy big tomato, you almost forget about all the hard work you put into that tomato garden to end up with a great bumper crop.

But sometimes mother nature can hurl a few nasties our way, and you have to be ready for her when she does. If you spent all season in your vegetable garden, and especially slaved over your tomato plants, then you know what it feels like when Mother Nature throws a nasty big thunderstorm your way.

All you can do is sit inside the house, and let her do her worse. You just pray that all your vegetable plants hold up to this hard rain, whipping winds, thunder, lightening and possibly hail. You hope those tomato stakes hold up, and that you secured the vine well.

You head out to the garden as soon as it is safe to do so, and find a lot of little green tomatoes lying everywhere on the ground. Your tomato plants have held up, and there are still many tomatoes on the vines, but there are a lot that came off during the storm.

What do you do with these? There are so many, and they are no where near ripened, not even a hint of red yet!

But you can save these little green tomatoes. Here is what you do:

Tomato growing tips: Pick up all your little green tomatoes, and the big ones too! And dry them off of water and mud the best you can. (get them as dry as possible) Then you need to find yourself a cardboard box, and line it with a few layers of newspapers, and then lay your dried off tomatoes on this layer of newspaper in the bottom of this box., with a bit of airspace around each of them. (you may need a few boxes if you have a lot of little green tomatoes!)

Next, find yourself a couple of ripening bananas. Bananas that are yellow but have a little bit of green still on them. Put these two bananas in the box with your little green tomatoes, and cover with loose sheets of newspaper.

The bananas will give off a gas while it is ripening that will help to ripen your tomatoes. Just keep checking on them. This works very well. My grandmother did this for years. The bananas are very important, as some people just line their window sill with these green tomatoes with the hopes that they will ripen. Sometimes they do, but you often have ones that do not, an end up composting them or throwing them out..

Try this method with the box, newspapers and bananas, and you will be enjoying your ripened tomatoes at the same time you are harvesting your outside tomatoes, and you won't have wasted any!

Tomato growing tips: Another problem that tomato growers have is Blossom End Rot. This is that big black spot you get on the bottom of your tomato while it is growing on the vine. If the rest of your tomato plant is healthy and there are good tomatoes growing on it, then you need to pick off this tomato and get rid of it.

By picking off any bad tomatoes, you will help the plant focus its energies on the good tomatoes. This can be hard to do, because you could have a couple of tomatoes, that still look good other than this black spot, but it is not good for the health of the tomato plant. So, don't even let them continue ripening, just get rid of them now.

One of the reasons for this blossom end rot, is uneven watering. Tomatoes need a steady amount of watering, so they can absorb the goodness and nutrients from the soil.

By watering deep, you help the roots go deeper. So, give them a good watering not a sprinkle, but don't drown them. Also stay on top of garden pests. Especially earwigs

Kill Earwigs by Having a Party! check out this other article on earwig control with your tomatoes. This cure for earwigs can be a lot of fun!

Tomato growing tips: Mulching around the tomato plants helps to keep the moisture in. But tomatoes react quite quickly to dryness. So you have to keep on top of watering tomatoes, they do not do well in a dry spell.

If you are away on vacation, the promise of some of your beautiful tomatoes can be a good bargaining chip to get the neighbor to water your garden, especially your tomatoes.

Tomato growing tips: Have a harvest party in your neighborhood. If you grow prize winning tomatoes, then get together with your neighbors or friends and get them to all grow different vegetables. Then at harvest time you can share, and have a great variety of veggies fresh from the garden. This way you put your efforts into one type of vegetable in your garden.

Tomato growing tips: If you want to keep the fresh juicy taste of your tomato, do NOT store it in the fridge. The cool air of the refrigerator ruins the fresh taste of a tomato. Keep them on the counter out of the sun, and if you can't eat them at one time, then start to process them for sauces etc as soon as you can. This will retain the tomato fresh flavor, as once it hits the fridge you tend to lose that right from the garden taste.

Tomato growing tips: If you have problems with much larger critters than earwigs and garden pests, such as deer, rabbits, raccoons etc.. coming to your garden and making a meal out of your vegetables especially your tomatoes. Then try soaking a few clean rags (torn old t-shirts work well) in white vinegar full strength, and placing the rags on stakes around your garden.

Many animals can't stand the smell of vinegar, even after it has dried on the rags, you will look like you are giving up the war with these white flags, but this is an effective way to keep the larger critters out of your garden. Re-soak the rags once a week or so...

Happy gardening!