The Pampered Tomato
Tomatoes are capricious. That is not something we should hold against them, however. They have every right to be and you and I both know who benefits from their righteousness. Tomato simply knows what it needs. A proper storage and ripening environment is one of its demands.
Ripe tomatoes stored in a cool dark place will easily last 2-3 weeks if they rest in a claie. This is a shallow wooden tray with slats at the bottom and short legs. This design allows air to circulate beneath and around the contents. Claies can be stacked, which saves space for you, yet still provides the proper environment to preserve freshly picked produce. Also, they are the ideal resting place to ripen green tomatoes.
I cannot say enough about rain barrels. If your main source of water is through a public system, a rain barrel can reduce your water bill considerably. If your system uses a pump, you will save much on electricity every time you water your plants or garden.
In addition to this, if you are able to position your rain barrel uphill from your garden, you can use a hose connected directly to the barrel when watering.
Collecting rain water also benefits the environment because you are redistributing it within the soil, as opposed to allowing it to go directly into the storm drain.
The garden is planted, but you look around and feel inspired to add a few containers for good measure and beauty. First things first: Give much thought to the plants you will place in a same pot. As a rule, select plants that require similar water, soil, light and fertilization.
We tend to select large containers for gardening. This means they can be heavy by the time the are filled with soil and plants. Two solutions: Place the pot in its final destination before you fill it, or place it in a garden cart before filling and then chauffeur it to its proper resting place.