Brown County Ag Day set for April 27

Scott Anderson
Special to the Bulletin
Scott Anderson

Tuesday April 27 is the date of the Brown County Ag Day. This program is being conducted by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and is sponsored by the Brown County Farm Bureau. It will be held at the Brown County Fairgrounds located at 4206 US Highway 377 South in Brownwood. The Ag Day program will begin with a sponsored meal at 5:30 p.m.

The first 3.5 months of 2021 have not been kind to area livestock producers. Snow fall, cold weather, drought, a severe weather storm and prolonged windy days have left most pastures with very little grazing. Most livestock producers have depleted available hay supplies.

Dr Jason Cleere, Extension Beef Cattle Specialist from College Station will discuss spring cattle management and Dr. Reid Redden, Extension Sheep and Goat Specialist from San Angelo will discuss spring sheep/goat management. The focus of both presentations will be on what decisions do producers make now to continue this year.

The Brown County Ag Day is open to anyone interested. There will be a $10 registration fee payable at the door. Pre-registration is required by April 22nd so that proper meal planning can be done. To pre-register or for more information contact the Brown County Extension Office at 325-646-0386.

Tomatoes are king in most vegetable gardens

Tomatoes are said to be the most popular plant grown in most home gardens. According to Dr. Joe Masabni, Extension Vegetable Specialist from Dallas, tomatoes come from South America, present-day Peru. The earliest mention of tomatoing European literature was found in Italy in 1544. Tomatoes were described as “Golden Apples” and were yellow varieties. Tomatoes became widely cultivated for several decades in Spain, Italy, and France where it was called pomme d’amour (Love Apple). It might have been used as an early aphrodisiac. German folklore named tomatoes “Wolf Peach.” The scientific name for tomato is Lycopersicon esculentum which means “edible wolf peach”. The first cookbook to mention tomatoes was in Naples Italy in 1692. The U.S. Supreme Court in 1893 ruled that tomatoes were considered the “fruit of the vine” and therefore a vegetable.

Everyone asks what the best tomato is to grow in our area.

The Celebrity tomato was first hybridized and produced in the U.S. by Colen Wyatt. The seeds were commercially distributed in the late 1980s by Petoseed Co. and today by Seminis Vegetable Seeds.

In 1984, the plant was judged by various horticulture experts and recognized with an All-America Selections award due to its favorable characteristics compared to other tomato cultivars.

Celebrity’s root-knot nematode resistance sets it apart from most tomato varieties.

For gardeners who plant tomatoes in the same spot year after year, they have to have root-knot nematode resistance. That and its yield, fruit size and quality make Celebrity a must for gardeners.

Caring for Celebrity tomatoes

Celebrity tomatoes require full exposure to the sun for optimum production. They are also tolerant of a variety of soils if the location drains well.

Plants are perennial but grow as an annual in Texas due to the cold. They are determinant, or grow as a bush, but will easily reach 4-6 feet tall.

Celebrity tomatoes perform best as transplants in early spring, or they can be planted mid-summer for fall harvest, but whiteflies and viruses may hinder production. Plants also need staking or caging to produce fruit throughout the growing season.

Continue fertilizing after the first fruit set, and the plant will continue to grow and set more fruit.

You can apply fungicide and insecticide when fruit are about golf ball size, but that tomatoes may reach harvest before sprays are needed.

Along with root-knot nematodes, they are resistant to several diseases that plague tomatoes, including fusarium wilt types 1 and 2, verticillium wilt and tobacco mosaic virus. Root-knot resistance is significant because very few tomatoes are tolerant to that pest.

Fruit is also resistant to cracking and splitting when there is excess water and sugar movement as the fruit develops.

High volume, high quality

Ripe Celebrity tomatoes are round and red, and vigorous plants typically produce 20 or more very plump, robust fruit, Stein said. Fruits typically weigh approximately 8 ounces and are 4 inches in diameter. Tomatoes continue to ripen after being picked and are typically harvested when they start to change color.

If you’re going to plant, you should have a few Celebrity plants in your garden and test the others.

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