Restaurants and supermarkets across the country pulled tomatoes off their menus and shelves on June 9, after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration expanded its warning against a rare form of Salmonella found in red Roma, red plum, and round red tomatoes.
What better time to forego supermarket tomatoes and instead nurture your own backyard crop? Tomatoes are one of the easiest plants to care for, and you'll reap some of the sweetest rewards. It's too late to use seeds, but the perfect time for a plant since tomato plants love heat (something the country has plenty of at the moment). When choosing a tomato plant, look for a hybrid (they produce the most fruit) that's marked 'VFN,' indicating the variety is resistant to three types of diseases: verticilum wilt, fusarium wilt, and nematodes. Buy a plant without flowers and plant it deep-up to the first set of leaves. William Alexander, author of The $64 Tomato, recommends leaving the soil around the base a little below ground level to create an area for water to pool and keep the plants moist.