Robin Dinhofer of Merrick has some of the season’s most creative raised beds. Her son, Andrew, a mechanical engineering student, built them using recycled materials: 55-gallon car wash barrels cut in half, wood, bolts and paint. Dinhofer filled each half way with golf balls for drainage and then added potting mix. “We have been renovating our yard, as we lost our pool and pier last August thanks to Tropical Storm Irene,” she said. “My son's planters are a start on our new yard.”
Dinhofer is growing onions, celery, cabbage, radishes, sweet potatoes, sweet peas, basil, cucumbers, zucchini, cantaloupe, watermelon, strawberries and tomatoes. Who knows? Maybe one of the latter will be a contender for this year's Great Long Island Tomato Challenge, which will be held at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 24 at Newsday (235 Pinelawn Rd., Melville).
Are you in? Bring your biggest, heaviest fruit to the event, where I will weigh tomatoes and name this year’s Tomato King or Queen. In the meantime, send a photo of yourself with your plants and a note about your growing methods to firstname.lastname@example.org, and you might be featured next.