Perfect Pair: Planting Tomatoes and Basil

They are the perfect pair: tomato and basil are two items gardeners are
anxious to get in the ground now, so they can enjoy them later!

Linda Solomon with Cactus & Tropicals shares some helpful planting tips.

Tomatoes are the unchallenged ruler of the vegetable garden and basil is a
favorite herb and the main ingredient in pesto. Although easy to grow,
tomatoes are not fool proof. Start with bright green, healthy looking plants.
Plants that are droopy with yellow leaves or leaves with brown spots are
either sick or injured and will produce a disappointing crop of tomatoes.
When planted, they must have at least 6 hours of direct sunlight a day or
they won’t produce any fruit. Be careful when fertilizing—too much
nitrogen and you will have huge green bushes but no tomatoes. Make sure
your soil is amended with good quality compost. Tomato plants need a
consistent supply of water. If the plants become too dry the small
tomatoes will be damaged, this is called blossom end rot. If you plan to
stake or cage your tomatoes, do it soon after planting as tomatoes grow
rapidly and it is almost impossible to force a large plant into the cage.

Want to grow organic tomatoes? Look for plants that are labeled organic or
purchase organic seed and start them yourself. Make sure any compost
and fertilizer that you use are also labeled organic.

What are heirloom tomatoes? Tomatoes that have been passed down
through many generations and are valued and prized for unique
characteristics are considered heirloom. They are very popular and garden
center have many varieties to choose from. Several favorites are Green
Zebra, Cherokee purple, Mortgage lifter and Mr. Stripy.

Make sure to plant plenty of basil plants in the spring so you have a
bountiful harvest by mid-summer. I find that 12-15 plants provide me
with enough of the herb to make many batches of pesto and I even have
enough to freeze. Snails and slugs find the tender basil leaves a tasty treat
so I always plant my basil in a container. I use good quality potting soil,
fertilize often and make sure the plants are well watered.

Cactus & Tropicals has the best selection of fresh, healthy and unique
house plants and flowers, elegant garden accessories and gifts. In spring
and summer visit us for low maintenance and water wise xeric plants,
beautiful native, trees, shrubs and perennials, steppable ground covers and
spectacular container gardens, Veggies, herbs and flowers of all types and
super cool, winter hardy cactus and succulents fill our exterior nursery with
everything you need to create a beautiful space inside and out. Cactus &
Tropicals also provides interior, guaranteed plant maintenance for over 800
locations in and around the Salt Lake Valley and is an exquisite location for
your wedding reception or other special event.

Open year round, 7 days a week in Salt Lake City and Draper Join our Gifts
From the Garden Club and receive 20% off of an item of your choice and a
variety of discounts and same as cash coupons throughout the year.
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