Keeping the garden tidy requires a few deft moves with the right tools, and, time and again over the seasons, shrub rakes are... Read more »
Entire books have been written on the science of making compost, but it isn’t as hard as people think. In five easy steps, you... Read more »
Weeding, pruning, and raking all make a huge difference in the appearance of a garden, but, to finish the job, you have to rou... Read more »
The Fiskars® aluminum shrub rake features a slim head with uniquely tapered tines that are perfect for reaching into tight spac... Read more »
Our Eco Bin Composter features an easy-to-assemble, easy-to-use design that can simplify and speed the composting process. It i... Read more »
Our HardShell® Kangaroo® Gardening Container is perfect for all your outdoor cleanup needs — whether you’re gathering yard and... Read more »
Are school fundraiser ideas keeping you up at night? A unique handmade art piece that represents your school is sure to be a p... Read more »
Creating beautiful and personal touches does not have to be difficult, especially when you have great designs to work with! Read more »
Recycle and give a new life to some of your old T-shirts Read more »
Teresa Collins is a top craft celebrity who has been featured numerous times on My Craft Channel, HSN, QVC and DIY network, wel... Read more »
Our unique Tag Maker with Built-in Eyelet Setter features an innovative design that makes it easy to create tags perfect for gi... Read more »
By creating a few simple tags, you won’t be caught at the fabric store not knowing what fabrics or yardage you have in your st... Read more »
A brocade drawstring pouch can be a beautiful and luxurious accessory or gift. Read more »
Transform a simple hoodie into a super simple unicorn costume and take the stress and pressure out of making a complicated Hal... Read more »
Perfect for a wide range of sewing and quilting tasks, our Amplify® RazorEdge™ Serrated Fabric Shears sense blade separation an... Read more »
Perfect for a wide range of sewing and quilting tasks, our Amplify® RazorEdge™ Fabric Shears sense blade separation and force t... Read more »
Perfect for a wide range of crafting and mixed media tasks, our Amplify® Mixed Media Shears sense blade separation and force th... Read more »
Try some new punches out and make some cards to celebrate World Card Making Day! Read more »
A personalized Duck Tape® crown is quick and easy to make with your Fiskars® Duck® Edition Scissors. It is a fun way to cele... Read more »
Our Preschool Training Scissors features a special training lever that opens the blades after each cut, helping children learn... Read more »
Children love our Designer Non-stick Blunt-tip Kids Scissors for the colorful handle patterns that make cutting fun and the non... Read more »
Our Designer Non-stick Student Scissors are larger than our Kids Scissors but smaller than adult scissors, perfect for those ol... Read more »
Transform a basic jacket into something personal and unique. Read more »
Create a simple reusable calendar to plan all of your back to school activities. Read more »
Creating a miniature collage with your Fiskars® Duck® Edition Scissors is a great way to use up any last bits of Duck Tape® yo... Read more »
Designed for long, easy cuts down strips of Duck® Tape, our Duck® Edition Scissors feature a non-stick blade coating that preve... Read more »
Designed for all-purpose cutting through a range of craft materials that incorporate glue, tape and other sticky adhesives, our... Read more »
Designed for tight, precise cuts through a range of craft materials that incorporate glue, tape and other sticky adhesives, our... Read more »
Although they can be easy to grow, there are some tricks to making sure plants stay as healthy as possible as you patiently wait to harvest those first ripe fruits of your labor.
Giving tomato plants the proper care at planting time is one of the most important steps for ensuring a satisfying harvest. But even with the best initial care, tomato plants need on-going attention to keep them as healthy as possible as you prepare for the bounty.
From the very start, keep an eye out for leaf spot or leaf curl anywhere on the plant. With some varieties, leaf curl is more common and not always an indication of a problem. Sometimes itís a natural response to minimize exposure to more sun that the plant can support. But it can be a harbinger of more serious problems. And leaf spots are always a sign of trouble. The best action is removal of any leaves or branches with signs of spotting. Another sign of trouble are yellowing leaves. Unfortunately, many diseases common to tomatoes look similar. Some are preventable, some are treatable, and yet others are neither, such as a virus.
The best proactive, natural measures for disease avoidance of most plants including tomatoes, is to have a 2 - 4 inch layer of mulch around the base of each plant. Mulch can prevent soil-borne disease from splashing up onto foliage from irrigation or rainwater. To minimize the amount of water on foliage, irrigate your plants with soaker hoses or drip irrigation placed under mulch. At the very least, if irrigating by hand, do so only at the base of the plant. If you must water from above, as with a broadcast sprinkler, do it early in the day so the foliage has plenty of time to dry out. Foliage that is wet for too long can promote disease.
Keep a good amount of compost worked into the top few inches of your soil around the plants. In addition to being a great natural source of nutrients, compost has disease-fighting properties. Yet even with proactive vigilance, tomatoes, especially non-hybrids, can be susceptible. Preemptive measures are still your best defense to avoiding problems. By mid-season, make sure your plants have plenty of sunlight and air circulation around all the foliage. If a plant is too dense, cut back some of the branches, especially any that have signs of disease: spotting, discoloration or curling.
There are a number of pests that attack tomato plants. One of the most common is the tomato hornworm. You know you have this pest when you find much of the foliage eaten within a short period. Another sign of the hornworms presence is the droppings they produce. They usually appear at the base of the plant and look like small black soccer balls.
Control is simple. Once you locate this well camouflaged creature, handpick and toss them out of the garden where a bird is sure to find it. Another method of control is B.t (Bacillus thuringiensis). It is a biological control that wonít harm beneficial insects, pets, or people so itís safe to use in an organic garden. You can find this in a canister at most nurseries and garden centers. A favorable aspect to this control is that it is selective, specific only to caterpillar larvae such as the hornworm. But use with discretion. B.t is effective against all caterpillar larvae, including butterflies. Apply a dusting of this powder to your plants once you notice a problem and reapply if rain washes it off. Yet I still find picking them off the plant is just as effective and the most environmentally friendly option.
To promote faster growth and concentrate the plantís energy into the main branches and fruit, snap or cut out the small suckers that grow from the crotch of many branches and the main stalk. You should also remove all branches and foliage below the lowest forming fruit.
As tomato plants grow, they need support. Make sure to provide staking or support to keep plants from falling over and breaking. An upright, supported plant also provides better air circulation and sunlight, which means a healthier plant and a better harvest. If you find that the plant is growing too tall to manage, you can cut the top off. Be sure to make a clean cut, just above a side branch.
Visit your garden often and pay attention to the changes in your plants. The key minimizing any problem in your garden is to be proactive and quick to respond to signs of trouble. The result will be healthy plants and a bountiful harvest, without the use of chemicals.