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Early Tomatoes I'm a Tomato Mom!

In the third week of January, tomato seedlings arrived at our local Lowe’s. Less than a month into what passes for winter in Bakersfield, our days were cool, dry, and sunny. I couldn’t resist bringing a few plants home to get an extra-early jump on tomato season.  I limited my selection to seven smallish plants — bush, patio, and determinate — that would produce small fruits, which ensures an early harvest and a fairly tidy garden. I didn’t want wild and rambling ten foot tall vines, since these plants were going in my front yard, where the north side of our lawn used to be.

On February 8, I planted six of the seven in a U-shaped raised bed near the picket fence, where they’ve been enjoying our warm sunny weather. They’re quite content there, growing rapidly to shade out the weeds, happily sharing their space with cheerful low-water Gazanias I planted last summer.

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On Monday, March 23 — while caging the plants — I discovered this year’s first baby tomatoes.  Baby tomatoes, I say, on the third day of spring!  Once again, I am a proud Tomato-Mother-To-Be, always one of the finest gardening moments of the year. Am I strange, or do most people get this excited at the arrival of the first baby tomatoes?

Here are two of the beautiful bouncing babies:

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Baby Heat Master tomato

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I place used foam cups around tomato seedlings, to avoid damage from cutworms.

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Baby Roma Tomato

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Bonnie’s Roma Tomatoes did poorly for me in my backyard last year, so I am cautiously optimistic that they will like this new location better.

How about you? Which moments in your garden make you feel like jumping with joy? I’d love to hear about your big and small gardening celebrations!

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This year’s first front-yard ladybug … another yearly “first” that makes me smile!

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