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Garden Gurus Project

Thank you for supporting the good works of the Sentinel Garden Gurus. School food gardens are beautiful places to learn and to work, and are as important to our education system as science, technology, engineering, and math. One could argue, more so, given the fragile state of food security. So good for you, for digging in!

If you are here, you are the proud owner of one of more of these tomato varieties.

  • Tumbler red cherry, determinate bush type.

  • Tiny Tim red cherry, determinate dwarf bush type

  • Gardener's Delight red cherry, indeterminate vining type

  • Sungold orange cherry, indeterminate vining type

  • Golden Rave two-bite yellow cherry, indeterminate vining type

  • Early Cascade, medium size red, indeterminate vining type

  • Early Girl, medium size red, indeterminate vining type

  • Green Zebra, medium size green, indeterminate vining type

  • Tasmanian Chocolate, medium size red/brown, determinate bush type

  • Inca Jewels, medium size red paste, determinate bush type

  • Midnight Roma, medium size purple paste, semi-determinate

and/or one or more of these pepper babies: (SHU = Scoville Heat Units)

  • California Wonder sweet bell - light green to red. SHU: <100

  • Twingo sweet bell - bright green to bright yellow. SHU: <100

  • Jalapeno M chili - green to red. SHU: 2,500-10,000

  • Spicy Slice chili - green to red. SHU: 4,000-6,000

  • Sureno Serrano chili - green to red. SHU: 10,000-23,000

  • Arapaho chili - red. SHU: 30,000-50,000

  • Habanada chili - orange to red (heatless habanero hybrid). SHU: <100

A few things you should know about your tomatoes and peppers:

  • All tomatoes and peppers were grown in 100% organic living soil; that is, a well-composted blend of garden greens, four types of well-composted manure, wood fines, a bit of sand, and plenty of worm castings. That soil provides awesome nutrition for your plants, so be sure it all makes it into your beds or pots.

  • If you see tiny mushrooms growing in the soil, celebrate, don't worry. Tiny shrooms are a sign of good soil biology.

  • Tomatoes like to be planted deep - that is they will benefit from being buried up to one-third of their height in their forever home. Those tiny white hairs growing all over the stem will take root in soil, and strengthen the existing root system. Strip the leaves from the lower part of the plant before burying deep. You don't have to do this, but you can. Your tomatoes have already been buried deep several times over their three-month lifetimes. *This applies to tomatoes and select few other vegetables only though, so don't bury your peppers.

  • When you plant your tomatoes, leave the stake in the soil, and leave the velcro tape attached to the stake (or transfer the velcro tape to the string or trellis you plant the tomato against). I cap all of my garden stakes with old wine corks.

  • Peppers are particularly awesome in pots and containers that can be moved to follow the sun if needed. They like sun on their faces and nice warm feet, but because they can take their time maturing, the extra sun time late in the season, is an added benefit.

You can learn more about planting tomatoes deep, and other growing, cooking and preserving tips and tricks by reading my recent Million Gardens Movement article 'Tomato Tips & Tricks'.

You can learn more about growing, cooking and preserving peppers by reading my recent Million Gardens Movement article 'Peppers: A Hot Topic'.

A special thank you to Mr. Joel Gibson and the Sentinel Boys Club Network for doing the heavy lifting for this fundraiser, and for raising awareness of the importance of school food gardens.

Have fun with your tomatoes and peppers. I wish you many delicious memories and moments. Send some photos if you can to and, if you post tomato pix to your social media, please tag @upfrontandbeautiful #upfrontandbeautiful so I can see what you are up to and share in your success!

Laura Marie

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