Home & Garden

Everything tomato planned for next week's Tomato Day

Tomato eating, tomato contests, tomato growing, tomato cooking, tomato varieties – Tomato Day on July 27 at the Extension Center in Wichita will offer all sorts of ways of approaching America’s favorite garden vegetable. (Yes, we know that technically it’s a fruit, but we don’t care.)

The free annual garden celebration, sponsored by the Extension master gardeners, will feature talks, demonstrations, a tree tour, a salsa and green tomato tasting (for $2), children’s activities, an iris sale, the farmers market in the parking lot, and tomato lunch for purchase. You can also bring plant problems for diagnosis, and garden produce for donating to the needy. Oh, and your ugliest and prettiest tomatoes for the contests.

Hours will be from 7 a.m. to noon at the Extension Center at 21st and Ridge Road, and admission is free. Here is the schedule of talks, demonstrations and tours. (Laura Sterling of Friend That Cooks will take the place of Damian Lehman as the presenter of the cooking demo at 8:30 a.m.)

In the demonstration garden

• 8 a.m.: composting demonstration

• 8:30 a.m.: tour of the demonstration garden

• 9:15 a.m.: tour of the shade trees on the grounds (meet indoors in the Meadowlark Room)

• 9:15 a.m.: growing tomatoes in heat and drought

• 10 a.m.: organic considerations for tomato gardening

• 10:30 a.m.: getting the garden ready for next year

• 11 a.m.: tomato pests and diseases

• 11:30 a.m.: making the most of your garden space

In the Sunflower Room

• 8:30 a.m.: cooking with tomatoes

• 10:30 a.m.: the global tomato: from the basic to the exotic.

Here are the categories for the contests: largest tomato, ugliest tomato, best plate of three standard tomatoes, best plate of three Roma or plum tomatoes, best plate of six cherry or pear tomatoes, best cluster of grape tomatoes, best heirloom tomato specimen, best fresh salsa, best preserved salsa. Check rules and other details at tinyurl.com/TomatoDay2013.