Red Tomato Mulch Experiment in CGG
By: Lily Hatrick
The volunteers of the Common Good Garden (CGG), under the leadership of Common Good Garden Coordinator Dev Culver, are trying a mulching experiment on the tomato plants this season.
The tomatoes were planted in rows with a PVC pipe structure built to prevent the tomatoes from resting on the ground. After planting the tomatoes, a Master Gardener Volunteer and CGG volunteer, suggested using red “mulch” as it is beneficial for improving the growth of tomatoes. It was a bit tricky to install the red “mulch” after the tomatoes were already in the ground, but the challenge was taken up by the volunteer work team.
Researchers at Clemson University report that red “mulch” has a measurable impact on tomato plant productivity. Red “mulch” reflects sunlight back onto the tomato plant amplifying the green light spectrum. Amplifying the green light spectrum encourages tomato plants to grow leaves faster and in turn provides an earlier and larger fruit crop. The light reflected onto the plant triggers the release of a specific plant protein. This protein causes the crop yield to increase and reportedly makes the tomatoes even more delicious.
Mulch has the added benefits of suppressing weeds that compete with plants for nutrients, creating a warmer soil environment and increasing water retention decreasing the need for frequent watering. To test the impact of red “mulch”, the volunteers have one row of tomatoes set up using black plastic cover. This row will serve as our control group in this experiment. Next time you are at the TSCG, drop by and take a look at the red “mulch” experiment.
Lily Hatrick is a rising junior at Brunswick High School (BHS). In April she joined the team of volunteers that farm the Common Good Garden at TSCG. Lily and Dev are working together to develop Lily’s volunteer time into an experiential learning program supported by BHS.
Where: Tom Settlemire Community Garden (Maurice Dr. Brunswick)
- Bring exact change or pay with a check
- Stay 6 feet apart from others
- Wear a mask
- Stay home if you are feeling ill or have been exposed to someone who is sick
- Use hand sanitizer
When: Sat., May 30, 9am- 12pm
What’s for sale:
Jet Star Tomato- FEDCO’s best selling hybrid tomato. Produces prolific 7-8 oz tomatoes.
Rutgers Original Tomato- great old time flavor. Outstanding slicing, cooking canning fruit.
Sun Gold Tomato- “there is no summer without Sun Golds”- a spectacular tasting cherry tomato.
Premio Tomato-Cluster tomato, almost 4 oz tomatoes with 4-8 per cluster, Juicy , sweet, firm
King of the North Pepper- the most popular green pepper- produces a good crop in Maine
All seeds from FEDCO- raised organically
PRICE: $4.00 per plant donation to BTLT Garden Project. Please bring exact change, or a check.
Questions or Preorders?: Call Tom 207-841-6747
Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust’s Tom Settlemire Community Garden and BTLT Program Manager, Jamie Pacheco were recently featured in a Bangor Daily News article about local community gardens adapting to COVID-19.
“Etiquette is always important in communal spaces. For community gardeners in years past, being considerate of others meant keeping your bed neat, treating communal tools with care, chatting with fellow gardeners about their summer plans and resisting the urge to snatch a tomato from your neighbor’s plot.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, though, the rules for being a good garden bed neighbor have changed. Community gardens across the state have established new rules for the growing season in accordance with the governor’s orders, the Centers for Disease Control’s recommendations and the University of Maine Cooperative Extension guidelines.
“Garden guidelines provide a framework for people with different experiences and viewpoints to work within a community space respectfully,” Jamie Pacheco, program manager at the Brunswick Topsham Land Trust, which runs the Thomas Settlemire Community Garden.
If you are wondering what the best practice is, the first step is to check the rules for your community garden. Keep abreast of any changes that the garden might make over the course of the crisis.”