The Tomatoes Are Coming


I hope all you wonderful moms had a fantastic Mother’s Day. We had a brooding hen and now she (quite miraculously!) is our newest mother at Casa Rice. Cutest celebration, ever.

It’s that time of year when this mama is tooling around the garden every day. I have been planting summer veggies in every nook and cranny I can find.


Double-click cosmos (I started from seed) help to attract bees and butterflies to the garden.

best garden tools

I’ve put together a basket to cart around with me, that way I’m not running back and forth from garden to house all day.

Here’s what you’ll find:

Mr. Clean Latex-Free Gloves:  I love these dish gloves for the garden! Because they are thin and snug fitting, it allows you to really feel the earth better and they wash up easily compared to stiff and crusty garden gloves.

Japanese Planting Knife:  This makes me feel like I’m a samurai in a Kurosawa movie. These knives make for easy planting, digging those holes for transplanting seedlings. Hi-ya!

Pencil and Pad:  The pencil is ideal for planting seeds and jotting down notes/inspiration.

Small Pruners:  I always have a bunch of these small inexpensive pruners tucked about because they work well in my small hands.  I don’t treat my tools well enough to by the fancy Felcos – I’ve learned that the hard way.

Raffia Wire Ties: I like the organic look of the natural ties better than the plastic ties normally used for staking plants.

Harvest Basket: I’m always harvesting something for either our dinner plates or those chickens.


The thing that gets me most giddy this time of year are the tomatoes. One of my favorite tricks is to inverse the tomato cages. Use the wire that would normally be stuck in the ground and then, with raffia wire, tie to connect the wires together. Garden staples fix the cages into the earth for stability. The shape is prettier and has more of a custom look over the typical cylinder shape.



About a month ago, I dug a trench in the garden, filled it with compost and nestled in some interesting tomato varieties. With the hog wire fence as a trellis,  I attached the big lead stem with that handy raffia wire.


Are you starting to see my tomato obsession?  You really don’t need a big area to plant tomatoes, any larger-sized terra cotta pot will do. Below, I planted a fun heirloom tomato called Lemon Drop. It’s doing well in this medium-sized terracotta pot.


I’m giving another talk on growing tomatoes! Join us at the Santa Barbara Downtown Public Library this Saturday, May 20th from 9:30 am – 12:00 pm for two master gardener talks. Mine will go first, it’s all about growing delicious tomatoes (surprise!) and then it will be followed by a great class all about butterflies and bees. Click here for more details!


So many wonderful things growing in the garden right now! Don’t miss out on fava beans and artichokes.