Garden Detective

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

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Tomato contestant: Chris Schlesinger

Reader Chris Schlesinger says he hopes to be

Reader Chris Schlesinger says he hopes to be "carrying a tomato of hefty weight worthy of royalty" when he attends the Challenge. (Credit: Handout)

Chris Schlesinger of Bohemia has high hopes of “being crowned Tomato King 2013.” He’s growing Early Girl tomatoes, but he fears they will not produce fruit large enough to compete. So he’s started more plants, which he calls his “secret weapons."

His strategy? “I don't want to divulge my ‘trade secrets,’” he says coyly, but adds, “the nutrients given are all organic, and I have even added some Town of Islip compost that’s provided free by the town.” Schlesinger hopes to be “carrying a tomato of hefty weight, worthy of royalty” when he attends the Challenge at the end of this month.

Save the date

Are you in? This year’s contest will be held at 7 p.m. Aug. 23 at Newsday headquarters (235 Pinelawn Rd., Melville). To join, simply bring your biggest, heaviest ripe fruit to the event. I'll be on hand to weigh your tomatoes personally and crown the 2013 Tomato King or Queen. In the meantime, send a photo of yourself with your tomato plants, along with details about your growing strategy, to jessica.damiano@newsday.com, and you might be featured next.

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