Happy May Day! As the celebration of agriculture and spring (and my mother's birthday!), it's the perfect time to catch up on what's new in the garden, right? As you can see from the photo, the tomato seedlings I put into the ground the first week of April have each grown about a foot. To keep them company, I recently added some basil seedlings I picked up at the Santa Barbara farmers market and Italian parsley and celery seedlings from the farmers market I go to in Santa Monica on Saturdays (Cloverfield and Pico). All are good companions for the tomatoes. Speaking of which: If you want a great reference for companion planting, try Carrots Love Tomatoes. Jeff got me a copy for Christmas and I've been referencing it all the time as I add to the garden.
The celery is something new for me. I'd never really considered growing it because I assumed you just waited until the whole plant emerged and picked it by the root and that was it. Seemed like a lot of work for just one bunch of celery. But then I heard this tip from a fellow gardener: There is no need to pick celery by the root. The plant can grow for more than a year. Just pick the ribs off and leave the little ribs connected to the roots in the ground to grow more celery.
I love the idea that I can just take a few stalks at a time and let the plant keep growing. Similarly, here's a great tip to keep your tomato plants going from the folks at Tomatomania: With tomatoes growing fast and sturdy side branching inevitable, this year try creating a new plant with a cutting. Cut a six or seven-inch stem, soak the stem in water for a couple days, plant out (deeply) next to the parent or in a container. Keep moist for a week or so.