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  • Upcoming Garden Events in Middle Tennessee

    March 1 – 4: Nashville Lawn & Garden Show, Fairgrounds Nashville: The annual all-indoors garden event that features live garden displays, lectures, vendors, floral designs and special programming Wine Festival featuring Tennessee wines is Saturday (March 3), noon – 5 p.m. For more information on the events and the complete lecture schedule, visit www.nashvillelawnandgardenshow.com.

    April 7: Perennial Plant Sale hosted by the Perennial Plant Society of Middle Tennessee annual Perennial Plant Sale at The Fairgrounds Nashville. Find newly released and hard-to-find perennials along with a wide range of tried and tested varieties, all from top local nurseries. The sale opens at 9 a.m. and usually sells out by early afternoon. For more information, visit www.ppsmtn.org.

    April 14: Herb & Plant Sale hosted by The Herb Society of 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., at The Fairgrounds Nashville Sports Arena building. The sale offers common and rare varieties of herbs and heirloom vegetables and handmade pottery and herb markers by artist Roy Overcast for sale. For more information and a list of available plants, visit www.herbsocietynashville.org.

    April 21: Herb & Craft Fair hosted by First Unitarian Universalist Church of Nashville, 1808 Woodmont Blvd., 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Top quality perennial and annual herbs, heirloom tomato plants, native and companion plants, along with food and craft items reflecting an interest in the homemade and homegrown: fresh homemade sweet and yeast breads, spice mixes, barbecue sauces, jams and jellies; knitted and sewn items, homes for birds and bees, and art, jewelry and more made from pressed flowers. Visit www.thefuun.org.

    May 12: Hosta sale hosted by the Middle Tennessee Hosta. Proceeds from the sale support the club’s activities. More information about the MTHS is at www.mths-hosta.com.

    May 19: Urban Gardening Festival, hosted by Master Gardeners of Davidson County, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. (rain or shine) at the Master Gardeners’ Demonstration Garden at Ellington Agricultural Center (5201 Marchant Drive in Nashville). The free event includes information about a variety of gardening methods and techniques, local artisans, exhibiters, growers and more. For information, visit www.mgofdc.org/ugf.

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Tomato troubles

I have two questions for The Garden Bench:

1. The tomatoes on one of my tomato plants keep turning flat and black on the bottom before they get anywhere near ripe.  Any idea why that is and what to do about it?
2. When is the best time to dig up the garlic I planted last fall? — Anne-Marie Farmer

Soil with sufficient calcium produces prettier tomatoes, without blossom end rot.

The tomato question is a timely one, Anne-Marie, because it’s July, when most gardeners who grow things to eat think about tomatoes. So, to answer your questions here:

1. The tomatoes have a condition called blossom-end rot. It’s fairly common, and is due to a calcium deficiency in the soil. Try adding a bit of pelleted garden lime. It may not help immediately, but it will add calcium to the soil that will be available to plants in the future. You can also work crushed eggshells into the soil.

Recently I read the suggestion to put about 3 cups of whole milk (not 2%, not skim) into a hose sprayer and use it to spray the soil around the plants. Try not to get milk on the leaves, and rinse it off with plain water if you do.

2. Dig up the garlic after the leaves have started to turn yellow. Let the bulbs dry in the sun for a few hours, then lay them out on screens where they can cure for a couple of weeks. After they are cured, brush off as much soil as you can, but don’t wash them. You can braid the bulbs together and hang them to dry, or dry them in mesh bags. If any are damaged, use them as soon as you can.

Early-spring planting, early-summer harvest: Click over to A Garden Journal to see what we pulled out of the ground.

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