NORTH CAROLINA TOMATO MAN

Tomato expert, avid gardener and author Craig LeHoullier will present “Epic Tomatoes from Your Garden — Some stories, history, tips and tricks for success” on Thursday, Jan. 21, at 7 p.m.

Tomato expert, avid gardener and author Craig LeHoullier will present “Epic Tomatoes from Your Garden — Some stories, history, tips and tricks for success” on Thursday, Jan. 21, at 7 p.m.

This is a free Zoom presentation sponsored by Southern Appalachian Plant Society. To register, please email a request to sapsnews@gmail.com to receive a link to view the presentation on desktop, laptop, tablet or mobile phone. Registration deadline is noon Tuesday, Jan. 19.

In this information-packed program, Craig, known as the “North Carolina Tomato Man,” will take the audience on a colorful journey through his 40-year love affair with tomatoes. Beginning with some historical background that will highlight how lucky we current tomato growers and lovers are, the first half offers guidance on the process of choosing which varieties will work best in local gardens. He will then delve into tips from seed starting, care and feeding, troubleshooting, to harvest and seed saving. Techniques that work for traditional in-ground growing, as well as ways to bring your plants to the sun in containers or straw bales will be presented.

Craig LeHoullier lives and gardens in Hendersonville, North Carolina, Prior to that, he and his wife Susan and pets resided in Raleigh, North Carolina, for 28 years. A Rhode Island native, he caught the gardening passion from his father and grandfather. Craig earned his PhD in chemistry at Dartmouth College and had a 25 year career in pharmaceuticals.

Craig’s gardening obsession started the year he and Susan were married with their first garden in 1981. His love of heirloom tomatoes began in 1986 with his joining the Seed Savers Exchange, an organization for which he continues to serve as adviser for tomatoes. He is responsible for naming and popularizing many well known tomatoes, such as Cherokee Purple, a release says. In 2005 he added amateur tomato breeding to his garden resume and continues to co-lead the Dwarf Tomato Breeding project, responsible for creating 125 (and counting) new compact growing varieties for space-challenged gardeners.

Craig’s writing career kicked off with a 2012 request from Storey Publishing to write a book on tomatoes, resulting in Epic Tomatoes (2015). His second book, Growing Vegetables in Straw Bales, soon followed in 2016. Book 3, focusing on the Dwarf Tomato Breeding Project, is on the way.

Craig is a popular lecturer across the country at major gardening events, as well as a frequent guest on podcasts and radio shows, the release says. His current and upcoming projects include a garden cook book, a weekly Instagram Live each Friday at 3 PM Eastern from his garden, and additional podcasts, webinars and speaking opportunities as they arise.

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