April 14 column

Here is a link to my column in today's edition of The Spokesman-Review: Focus on tomatoes when frost fear fades. As you can guess, it is about growing tomatoes which are such a favorite of vegetable gardeners. And why not? You just can't beat the taste of your very own homegrown tomatoes!

I wanted to let you know that I inadvertently made an error when writing this column: I suggested giving the tomato plants a fertilizer higher in potassium than nitrogen. I meant to say phosphorus and apologize for the error. Potassium is certainly beneficial to plants, particularly in that it affects a plant's cold-hardiness, but it's phosphorus that will promote blossoming and fruit set.

Moving right along... Many readers have asked me where to find the red plastic mulch mentioned in my column. You should be able to find it locally at a large garden center like Northwest Seed & Pet, or you can find them online at all sorts of mail-order businesses. I would suggest googling "red plastic mulch" or "red plastic tomato mulch" and you will easily find sources for it. I've bought it from Lee Valley Tools, Johnny's Select Seeds, Harris Seeds, Totally Tomatoes, Gardens Alive! and so on. You can find links to their businesses by clicking on the orange "Links" tab at the top of the page.

I've been in Hawaii for the past 10 days and am heading home today. I took a lot of photos of many of the gorgeous tropical plants on the Big Island and will post them in the next few days so you can see them, too.