003-Growing Epic Tomatoes with Craig LeHoullier

| Grow, Podcast

Growing epic tomatoes likely makes it on to every vegetable gardeners wish list sooner or later. Fortunately, we now have someone who wrote the book on it, literally. Our featured guest for this episode, Craig LeHoullier wrote my new favorite book – a tomato growing guide: Epic Tomatoes; How to Select and Grow the Best Varieties of All Time.

While Craig has rocketed to rock star status in the international tomato growing scene in recent years, his long journey and decades of experience quietly growing, studying, and breeding them has made him one of the most in-demand speakers and authorities on the gardening scene today.

Over the course of three visits to Craig’s driveway garden in 2016, we tracked his progress and documented his journey throughout the growing season. Here, it’s the start of the season, with thousands of seedlings soaking up the sun.

Craig’s processes for what he does with tomatoes is fascinating, from the time he starts his seed sowing in February, through his seed saving in mid-summer and beyond. He records just about everything he does and refers to it often while continuing to pioneer new growing methods and varieties to openly share with the public.

Tomato growing guide, Epic Tomatoes, is based on Craig's years of experience

Craig grows about 200 tomato plants each year. The result is a driveway garden that produces over a ton of produce from the harvest. Here you can see the unique growing method Craig describes in the podcast for arranging plants around a 20-gallon pot.

And while there are countless successful tomato growers out there, few if any grow as many as Craig in such a small and non-traditional space and way. And that’s where the story is. That, and his journey of discovery and his passion for the tomato — past, present, and future.

As Craig will quickly tell you, he never set out to have so many spotlights shining on him for his expertise of America’s favorite fruit. In Craig’s words; “the tomato chose him”. We are so glad for that!

Now that you’ve listened to the podcast, watch the entire episode on growing epic tomatoes we did with Craig in his Raleigh, NC driveway garden over the entire growing season.

Other topics we discussed and where to learn more:

Links & Resources

Episode 005: What’s Wrong With My Tomato? Mid-Season Care With Craig LeHoullier

Episode 047: Tomato Seedling Mistakes with Craig LeHoullier

Episode 056: Tomato Care Checklist with Craig LeHoullier

Episode 064: Tomato Growing Season Lookback: Lessons Learned With Craig LeHoullier

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About Joe Lamp'l

Joe Lamp’l is the creator and “joe” behind joe gardener®. His lifetime passion and devotion to all things horticulture has led him to a long-time career as one of the country’s most recognized and trusted personalities in organic gardening and sustainability. That is most evident in his role as host and creator of Emmy Award-winning Growing a Greener World®, a national green-living lifestyle series on PBS currently in production of its tenth season. When he’s not working in his large, raised bed vegetable garden, he’s likely planting or digging something up, or spending time with his family on their organic farm just north of Atlanta, GA.

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