Garden Detective

Jessica Damiano's award-winning garden blog gets to the root of things.


Get ready for the 2013 Great Long Island Tomato Challenge

Gary Schaffer of Lindenhurst quickly takes his hands

Gary Schaffer of Lindenhurst quickly takes his hands away after placing his tomato on the scale during the 2012 Great Long Island Tomato Challenge. (Aug. 24, 2012) (Credit: Nicole Horton)

It’s time to prepare for the 7th annual Great Long Island Tomato Challenge! This year’s contest will be held at 7 p.m. on Aug. 23 at Newsday headquarters (235 Pinelawn Rd., Melville.)

Give your plants plenty of tender loving care all summer long, then bring your biggest, heaviest ripe fruit to the event. I’ll weigh your tomatoes personally and crown the 2013 Tomato King or Queen.

The rules (revised for this year)

-Entries will be judged in six categories: heaviest, lightest, ugliest, and three youth categories — 6 and under, ages 7-12, and ages 13-17.

-Contestants may enter one tomato per category.

-Tomatoes must be at least three-quarters ripe (at the discretion of the judges.)

-Tomatoes must be homegrown, fresh and not previously frozen.

As you await the big day, send a photo of yourself with your tomato plants, along with details about your growing techniques and the varieties you’re growing, to and you might be featured in an upcoming issue of Newsday.

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