How does your garden grow?

Local Matters



Is there anything better in the world to eat than a tomato picked fresh from the garden?

I am a tomato fanatic. I eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner and in between, too.

My favorite is picked straight from the garden with a bit of salt. I eat it like an apple. My second most favorite is sliced thin with cucumbers, purple onions, lemon, olive oil, salt and pepper. Sometimes instead of lemon, I will use red wine or balsamic vinegar. My third favorite is tomato and avocado chunks tossed with lemon and olive oil, salt and pepper. I also love ketchup, V-8, marinara and hot sauce. I cannot imagine my world without tomatoes on the daily.

I have always thought that when I retire, I will grow a tomato garden. I know I do not need to wait until I retire, but I don’t want to grow subpar tomatoes. I guess I thought this, too, because this was when my dad started gardening. Before retirement he spent his off time making our back yard and front yard a wonderland of tropical plants and flowers. I do this, too. It takes a lot of time and, at first, a lot of expense.

But I just cannot wait that long to start my venture into growing tomatoes. I searched for easiest ways to grow tomatoes and found a one-minuteand 39-second YouTube video titled: Easy Way to Grow Tomatoes! If what the video says is true, this seems at first watch as the absolute easiest way to start your own tomato seedlings at home using organic or heirloom variety tomatoes. He said the reason you want to stay with organic or heirloom is to ensure that the seeds will germinate and are not sterile. In this video, he chooses a ripe organic cherry tomato. He carefully slices the tomato horizontally in half and exposes the seeds inside. He places soil for growing vegetables in an organic seedling pod and puts the sliced tomato with seeds facing up about an inch into the soil and added water. According to this gardener, you should see a seedling in approximately a week.

According to, the health benefits of tomatoes include eye care, good stomach health and reduced blood pressure. Additionally, says that tomatoes help with digestion, stimulate blood circulation, reduce cholesteral levels, improve fluid balance, detoxify the body, prevent premature aging and reduce inflammation. Tomatoes consist of a large number of antioxidants that may help fight different types of cancer. They are also a rich source of vitamins and minerals and exert a protective effect against cardiovascular diseases. Plus, they are DELICIOUS.

The Pleasanton Express is starting a “How does your garden grow?” contest. We are asking for newbies and experienced gardeners to send us photos from their garden. Many families during the pandemic took time to start a garden. Kate Jasik and Abby Pawelek show off their gardens on Facebook, and while I am rarely a person who experiences jealousy, I am a little “green” with envy of their gorgeous produce. Part of this contest is also requesting best summer garden recipes. I cannot wait to see some of the entries and try them out this summer. Please enter our “How does your garden grow?” contest. We want to learn from you and see the vegetables of your labor. “Let us not forget that the cultivation of the earth is the most important labor of man. When tillage begins, other arts will follow. The farmers, therefore, are the founders of civilization.” Daniel Webster.

NOEL WILKERSON HOLMES is the Publisher and Managing Editor of the Pleasanton Express. You may reach her at

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