Home Gardening - One Tomato
The University of Maine Cooperative Extension in Piscataquis County wants to increase the number of households that grow a food garden in 2014 through their One Tomato project. The local office will be providing over 300 locally purchased cherry tomato plants in late June (after the chance of frost has passed) at no cost to anyone interested in growing a garden even if it’s just one tomato.
“Starting a garden can be intimidating,” admits Donna Coffin, Extension Educator. “But if you just start with One Tomato it seems less daunting. One Tomato can be grown anywhere there is full sun: in a vegetable garden, in a flower garden, in a window box, in a pot or even in a bag. With regular watering you can start harvesting in no time.”
Nationwide about a third of households grow some type of food garden. Gardens can include fruit, berries, vegetable or herbs and the typical household spends about $70 and harvests about $600 worth of food. Tomatoes are the most popular vegetable.
The One Tomato project was started in Ontario, Canada to encourage households to plant, grow and eat more vegetables, and give their extras to local food banks.
To participate in One Tomato and get your tomato plant come to the UMaine Extension Office at 165 East Main Street in Dover-Foxcroft during the week of June 23rd and complete a short survey of your gardening experiences. In addition to the tomato plant Extension staff will provide information on Growing Vegetables in Containers and Common Problems in Container Gardens as well as an opportunity to sign up for the Piscataquis & Penobscot Garden Newsletter. Tomato plants will only be available while the supply lasts and will also be distributed to county food cupboards on June 13th and 20th.
Walter Boomsma, president of the Piscataquis County Extension Executive Committee, notes that the committee is enthusiastically supporting the program. “This is the type of program that clearly has a direct benefit to our citizens and county,” he said. “One Tomato has practical value with very little rhetoric and the potential for big returns on a relatively small investment. People can try gardening with practically no risk and discover the fun of becoming more self-sufficient and eating healthier.”
Gardeners old and new will have an opportunity to post the progress of their tomato on the UMaine Extension Piscataquis Facebook site. Who will get the first blossom? Who will pick the first ripe tomato? Who will harvest the most?