We have a new contestant! Ed Weinert of Melville is jumping into the ring, and he has big plans for big tomatoes.

He writes:

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For many years, I have planted a vegetable garden featuring beefsteak and cherry tomatoes. To the delight of my friends and neighbors, my harvest has always eclipsed the modest size of my property. I do not use any pesticides and use a rototiller at the end of each growing season to mix the contents of my composter into the soil.

I have always believed that tomatoes should be staked to increase yield and size. In the beginning, I used bamboo (which was not strong or tall enough) and lumber (which rotted and broke). After a few years of disappointment, I went to Home Depot and purchased 8-foot PVC pipe: the perfect tomato stake – strong, tall and resilient. On occasion, I placed funnels on top of the PVC pipe to allow rain water to travel down the pipe directly to the plant roots.

Years ago, before I installed the vinyl fence, the garden was visible from the street. Children would walk along the street with their parents and stop and stare at the size of the plants. Naturally, I could never resist any opportunity to give a tour of the garden! The one thing that always fascinated me was the look on their faces at the sight of tomatoes and other vegetables growing on vines, plants and on the ground. They were so accustomed to seeing vegetables in grocery store bins; they could not believe that vegetables actually grew in a garden so close to their homes!

If the season goes well, you are welcome to stop by in August for a massive beefsteak tomato – or right now for a Fred Flintstone sized zucchini!

Sounds like a plan to me! We'll see Ed in August at the Great Long Island Tomato Challenge.