New Kids program at TOMATOMANIA gardening show and sale TOMATOMANIA - California’s largest (and most fun) tomato gardening event and sale – returns this March.

Veteran and amateur gardeners love Tomatomania where they’ll discover up to 250 varieties of tomato seedlings including the newest and hottest tomatoes – Madame Marmande, Atlas, India Stripe, Gladiator and more; attend informational classes offering tips on planting; garden maintenance; selecting the best plants for your site; irrigation + fertilizing; pest control; newest equipment and much more from gardening pros.

What’s NEW at 2018 Tomatomania:

  •  Introduction of Peppermania sales and displays                                                                 • Veggie plants to keep tomatoes company in the garden
  • For Kids:   Making Seed pods; A Ladybug Release, Junior Gardener certificates               • Meet The BUG man
  • Chef Demos– preparation and cooking tips/tastings                                                         • Save the Heirlooms campaign – rescue seeds from extinction!

Tomatomania will be popping up at Garden Destinations throughout the state starting in early March through April.  Admission to most events, classes, demos is FREE

Full schedule, hours, classes, demos at www.tomatomania.com  (see attached)

Who’s Who at Tomatomania

Scott Daigre, owner and head Tomatomaniac, is the author of the best-selling book “Tomatomania: A Fresh Approach to Celebrating Tomatoes in the Garden.”  His company Powerplant Garden Design based in Ojai focuses on installation of home and professional gardens with a concentration on food based gardens.

His BEST TIP:  It’s all about the soil!  With SoCal’s arid climate, it’s important to amend and build the soil that supports your plants.  Compost and other soil amendments, gypsum, and similar minerals and a good basic fertilizer will all add organic material and life to your garden soil…and result in better tomatoes.

Mark Donofrio, Director of Operations, is a true Tomatomaniac.  Donofrio was co-owner of the popular Larchmont Grill and grew produce for the restaurant at many of LA’s community gardens.  Today he operates a small farm and Tomatomania test garden in Santa Ynez.  He calls it The Starter Farm (www.thestarterfarm.com). He is passionate about the value of growing your own foods and tomatoes are the easiest place to start.  His BEST TIP:  To insure a long growing season, he advises planting in succession.  Buy some plants at the pop up sales and plant them, then be sure to visit Tomatomania again and plant additional varieties in successive weeks.  He also suggests buying a nice mix of indeterminate* and determinate* varieties to ensure a full season.

Note: Determinate tomatoes are varieties that stop growing when the fruit sets on the top bud.  All tomatoes from the plant ripen at approximately the same time over a period of 1-2 weeks.  Indeterminate tomatoes will grow and produce fruit until killed by front.  Indeterminates will bloom, set new fruit and ripe all at the same time throughout the growing season.

General tomato facts:

  • Tomatoes are thought to have originated in Peru as the name comes from the Aztec “xitomati,” which means ‘plump thing with a navel’.
  • Fruit or Vegetable?  A tomato is technically the fruit of the tomato plant, but it is used as a vegetable in cooking
  • The French called tomatoes “pommes d’amour” or love apples as it was originally thought to be an aphrodisiac
  • 95 million people in the US grow tomatoes in home gardens each year
  • California grows the most canning and paste tomatoes in the U.S. while Florida grows and sells the most grocery store (fresh) tomatoes.
  • There are more than 7000 tomato varieties available in the home garden seed market

Credit: Tomatomania.

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