DO IT NOW
Take good care of your tomato plants now, so you'll get lots of tomatoes later. To avoid diseases, water regularly and early in the morning, if possible. Try to avoid getting the lower leaves of the plant wet. (Mulching around the base of the plant may help.) Quickly pinch off and remove leaves that are showing signs of disease.
CONTEST OF THE WEEK
If you've got a closet-sized kitchen with crumbling counters and a stove that cooks too hot, it may qualify as the worst kitchen in America. The DIY Network and Food Network magazine are looking for cooks whose kitchens need a serious overhaul. The winner will be awarded a top-of-the-line chef's kitchen. Send digital images or videos to www.DIYnetwork.com that show why your kitchen is ready for the Dumpster. The new kitchen will be featured in a DIY Network special next year. The contest deadline is Aug. 6.
The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum's "Toast & Taste in the Gardens" will serve up samples of fresh cuisine from 20 local restaurants to diners surrounded by gardens in peak bloom. The July 29 fundraiser also features regional wines, beer and live music. Tickets are pricey -- $100 for the reception from 6 to 9 p.m. and $75 from 7 to 9 p.m. -- so start saving now. For reservations, call 952-443-1400, ext. 7046, or go to www.arboretum.umn.edu/toastandtaste.aspx.
We check in with a rookie gardener and an experienced gardener to see how things are growing. They've had some trials: The rookie's spinach went to seed before she could harvest it, and her carrots never came up. The veteran's cukes were decimated by cutworms. But both have bumper crops of tomatoes coming in, and can't wait to start eating them.
LYNN UNDERWOOD, CONNIE NELSON