PEARL, MS (Mississippi News Now) - Whether you have a patio or a plantation, backyard gardening is one of the summer's favorite hobbies here in the South. We are poking poking around in the Smith's backyard in Pearl where Carla And Carey had been having so-so success with their tomatoes until this year.
What Carla is achieving is no tall tale even though it is getting taller every day.
Carla is standing between her squash and her tomatoes in her backyard garden. She's there for perspective to show how tall her tomatoes are this year; more than twice her height.
The white PVC pipe is 10 feet tall and the tip of the vines are already topping it. And not only does she have the vines, they are loaded with tomatoes, big boys, better boys, and TOM-e-toes. It's the TOM-e-toes that are the tallest.
She and husband Carey have been amending and fertilizing the soil for a few years with limited success. But THIS year Carla tried something new, which is actually something old.
"So this time I used something I heard about a long time ago, Epson Salt," said Carla. "I put some Epson Salt by the plant and he watered them. And I did that twice. And that's the only thing I've done."
Carey does the watering according to his daddy's formula.
"Daddy says two dippers of water every day," said Carey.
For those of you who have never seen a water dipper or tasted the water from one and felt the low voltage tingle to your tongue from a zinc dipper, it's about a cupful. So two cups of water a day per plant. And Epson Salt.
Sounds weird. But you can't argue with results.
"I eat all the tomatoes I want every day. Then at night when I'm sitting down, I take a tomato and I cut it up, put it in a bowl, put salt and pepper in there, and defy anybody to come in at that time," said Carey.
So if you'd like to have enough tomatoes so YOU can have quality time alone with them, then it takes pretty much just three ingredients, other than the tomato plants.
Carey starts, "Good dirt." Carla injects, "I would do the Epson Salt again." Carey finishes, "Plenty of water and Epson Salts."
Jack had his beanstalk but Carla has her tomato vines, both growing to fairytale proportions. No pot of gold associated with the Carla and Carey's vines, but plenty of bags of tomatoes.