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Grow your best tomatoes with help from the library


Spring is here, and with the threat of frost receding as the days grow longer, tomato lovers start to dream of summer. Slicing a big juicy heirloom tomato for a sandwich or snacking on sweet cherry tomatoes in between pulling weeds are the dreams of gardeners across Cumberland County as they tend their seedlings.

But what if your tomato seedling isn’t so tiny and your garden isn’t ready for planting? Or what if you haven’t started seeds yet because of all your other early spring tasks? What if you’ve never grown your own tomatoes before and you don’t know which seeds you want to plant?

What’s a tomato-hungry gardener to do? Go to the library, of course!

Whether you’ve got a root-bound seedling in need of a larger pot or a packet of seeds and no idea where to start, library staff can help you find advice and information to make sure your tomatoes thrive.

Cumberland County Public Library has a multitude of books to provide inspiration and guidance in your tomato-growing adventures. “Epic Tomatoes: How to Select and Grow the Best Varieties of All Time” by Craig LeHoullier is a great place to explore the world of tomatoes. This book profiles more than 200 delicious varieties and offers a wealth of information on how to care for the plants at all stages, including pest and disease prevention as well as saving seeds for next season.

“Tantalizing Tomatoes: Smart Tips & Tasty Picks for Gardeners Everywhere” from the Brooklyn Botanic Garden will give you more tips on growing and enjoying tomatoes from a number of different writers, with specific advice for gardeners in different regions as well.

As tiny as your seedlings are today, it is never too early to start planning for the eventual harvest. Joy Howard’s “Tomato Love: 44 Mouthwatering Recipes for Salads, Sauces, Stews, and More” offers a variety of delicious recipes to use up all of your abundant harvest.

The library is your resource for information about growing tomatoes or other garden vegetables. Visit any of the eight libraries in person or go online at cumberlandcountync.gov/library. You can also call 910-483-7727.

Emma Pinault is the adult services manager at the East Regional Library.

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Cumberland County, library, gardening, tomatoes, books