In Bloom: Learn How to Grow Epic Tomatoes

Celebrated gardener Craig LeHoullier will be speaking at the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden on the tomato’s place in gastronomic history, as well as sharing his tips and tricks for successfully growing your own tomatoes.

photo: Shutterstock


Whether you say to-may-to or to-mah-to, everyone can agree tomatoes are a great plant to have in your garden, especially with the warmer months upon us. The versatile fruit often is the centerpiece of many summer recipes.

But how can you get the most out of your crop? From cherry to heirloom, the selection of tomato types to choose from can seem endless. Which variety will grow best in western Pennsylvania’s climate? When is the best time to plant?

If you want to learn more about how to grow your own plants, or want to build off the garden you’ve already started, Craig LeHoullier is here to help.

LeHoullier is the featured speaker at the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden’s Spring Garden Lecture, Epic Tomatoes from Your Gardens: Some Stories, History, and Tips for Success. The event takes place from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the garden’s Davidson Event Center in Oakdale.

An avid gardener from North Carolina, LeHoullier, the author of "Epic Tomatoes," will give a gastronomic history of the tomato in the United States. He also will share his favorite tomato types that do well for Pittsburgh growers.

A chemist by education, LeHoullier — who considers his gardens to be his annual laboratory — will tell stories about particular tomato varieties. This includes (listen up here, urban gardeners!) some special new varieties created by his worldwide breeding project that are well suited for space-challenged gardeners.

LeHoullier also will speak about achieving success from seed to harvest and share many of the tips and tricks he has learned from more than 30 years of experience growing tomatoes.

To coincide with the lecture, the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden is selling four varieties of heirloom tomatoes (Cherokee Purple, Lillian’s Yellow Heirloom, Magnus and Fred’s Tie Die) in the Bayer Welcome Center. The sale kicks off Thursday and will be open as long as supplies last.

Tickets for the event cost $15 for botanic garden members and $25 for nonmembers. To register for the event online, visit here.

Categories: Nest