208-Growing Epic Tomatoes: Our Just-Released Online Course Preview, With Craig LeHoullier

| Grow, Podcast

Tomato expert Craig LeHoullier and I have been working all year toward this week’s launch of the newest joegardener Online Gardening Academy™ course, Growing Epic Tomatoes, and Craig now joins me on the podcast to share our excitement for what’s in store.

Craig literally wrote the book on growing tomatoes successfully — “Epic Tomatoes: How to Select and Grow the Best Varieties of All Time” — and between us we have about 80 years of tomato growing experience. We’ve had a lot of “aha” moments when it comes to starting, planting and growing tomatoes, and the realizations on how to grow better and more easily keep coming. 


Joe Lamp'l and Craig LeHoullier

Craig LeHoullier and I are beyond excited for the launch of Growing Epic Tomatoes, which we co-lead.


Fortunately for all of us who love growing them, Craig never tires of talking about tomatoes. Craig’s been gardening since 1981, and in 1990 he named one of the most beloved heirloom tomatoes, Cherokee Purple. In addition to “Epic Tomatoes,” he penned the gardening book “Growing Vegetables in Straw Bales.” He’s also the tomato adviser to the Seed Savers Exchange and a co-leader of the Dwarf Tomato Breeding Project

As you might be able to tell, we can’t contain our excitement about the launch of Growing Epic Tomatoes: “This course will have something for every level of expertise, from absolute beginner, all the way to expert, just because there is that much to share,” Craig says. 

Growing Epic Tomatoes will be open for enrollment for a limited period of time, and anyone who completes their registration by May 17th will be entitled to a special discounted rate — the lowest rate that will ever be offered. You can find the enrollment page at

For this course, each module contains six to ten lessons and is 100 percent video — it’s basically a custom television show with Craig and I going deep on every aspect of tomatoes. And visually, the videos are beautiful, shot by my same video production and editing crew that shoots all our episodes of my Emmy award-winning series, Growing a Greener World®. Plus, there is a course-exclusive discussion group for participants to learn from each other, hear more from Craig and me, and build a community around their shared love of growing tomatoes.


Joe and Craig filming

My Emmy award-winning television production crew for Growing a Greener World is also shooting the videos that make up the Growing Epic Tomatoes course modules, capturing our in-depth discussions on all things tomato.


About half of the modules are already recorded, and what comes next will depend on what happens in our gardens in real-time. Craig and I are documenting every aspect of our tomato growing this season — the good, the bad and the ugly. Whatever happens will be permanently archived.

We’re all in this together, trying to figure it out, and some things are beyond our control, like the sudden hail that came as Craig was in my garden recently. Also during his time here on the GardenFarm™, a predicted overnight temperature of 34 degrees turned out to be, in actuality, 26.4 degrees. Luckily, we were proactive and had covered my many trays of tomato seedlings outdoors with floating row cover, a spunbond nylon fabric, to retain heat overnight — and, for the most part, it did the trick. We really averted a disaster, and it turned into a valuable lesson that we could not have planned better.


Tomato seedlings under row cover

After an unexpected plunge of overnight temperatures to several degrees below freezing, the value of floating row cover was proven out.


Nearly all vegetable gardens in the United States have tomatoes as their centerpiece, Craig notes. With all of the new gardeners who took up gardening as a hobby during the pandemic, more people are growing tomatoes in the backyards than ever, and Craig wants to give them the knowledge to feed their newfound passion and make them permanent gardeners.

Craig says his book “Epic Tomatoes” contains everything he learned about tomatoes through 2013, and in the new course he shares everything he’s learned since then and the adjustments he’s made to his growing practices. “Anytime you get to envelop yourself in a pursuit that gives you infinite exploring and learning opportunities means you have a friend for a lifetime,” Craig says.


A variety of tomatoes

Craig and I have so much to share about growing tomatoes successfully.


If you haven’t already listened to my conversation with Craig LeHoullier, you can hear this episode now by scrolling to the top of the page and clicking the Play icon in the green bar under the page title. 

What tomato growing challenges do you hope to overcome this season? Let us know in the comments below.

Links & Resources

Some product links in this guide are affiliate links. See full disclosure below.

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

Episode 095: Tomato Seed Starting Update: Innovations and Inspiration, with Craig LeHoullier

Episode 115: Understanding Tomato Diseases and How to Deal With Them

Episode 146: Catching Up With ‘Epic Tomatoes’ Author Craig LeHoullier: Big Changes and New Opportunities

Episode 148: Gardening in Straw Bales: An Easy & Inexpensive Solution to Make Growing Food More Accessible for All

Episode 173: Starting a New Tomato Garden: Lessons Learned, with Craig LeHoullier

joegardenerTV YouTube: How to Top Tomato Plants

joegardenerTV YouTube: How to Make the Ultimate Tomato Cage

joegardenerTV YouTube: How to Save Tomato Seeds

joegardener Blog: Busted – Top Five Tomato Growing Myths

joegardener Online Gardening Academy™: Popular courses on gardening fundamentals; managing pests, diseases & weeds; seed starting and more.

joegardener Online Gardening Academy Beginning Gardener Fundamentals: Essential principles to know to create a thriving garden.

joegardener Online Gardening Academy Growing Epic Tomatoes: Tomato expert Craig LeHoullier joins me in leading this course on how to grow healthier, productive tomato plants and how to overcome tomato-growing challenges. Join today for $397 $247 during the limited enrollment window.

joegardenerTV YouTube

joegardener Newsletter

joegardener Facebook

joegardener Facebook Group

joegardener Instagram

joegardener Pinterest

joegardener Twitter

Growing a Greener World® 

GGW Episode 803: Epic Tomatoes with Craig LeHoullier


Craig LeHoullier: Heirloom Gardening for All

Craig LeHoullier Instagram

Dwarf Tomato Breeding Project

“Epic Tomatoes; How to Select and Grow the Best Varieties of All Time” by Craig LeHoullier

“Growing Vegetables in Straw Bales: Easy Planting, Less Weeding, Early Harvests” by Craig LeHoullier

Floating row cover

TerraThrive™ – Our podcast episode sponsor and Brand Partner of 

Soil3 Our podcast episode sponsor and Brand Partner of 

Greenhouse Megastore – Our podcast episode sponsor and Brand Partner of – Enter code JOEGARDENER for 10% off your order

Disclosure: Some product links in this guide are affiliate links, which means we would get a commission if you purchase. However, none of the prices of these resources have been increased to compensate us. None of the items included in this list have any bearing on any compensation being an influencing factor on their inclusion here. The selection of all items featured in this post and podcast were based solely on merit and in no way influenced by any affiliate or financial incentive, or contractual relationship. At the time of this writing, Joe Lamp’l has professional relationships with the following companies who may have products included in this post and podcast: Rain Bird, Corona Tools, Milorganite, Soil3, Exmark, Greenhouse Megastore, High Mowing Organic Seeds, Territorial Seed Company, Wild Alaskan Seafood Box and TerraThrive. These companies are either Brand Partners of and/or advertise on our website. However, we receive no additional compensation from the sales or promotion of their product through this guide. The inclusion of any products mentioned within this post is entirely independent and exclusive of any relationship.

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 broadcasting in 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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