Register with GEF for FREE to enjoy these great benefits! 

    • member only contests and raffles

    • sustainability program news and updates

    • significant discounts at GEF Institute

Note: If you have problems registering, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Taking a GEF Institute Course? Login by clicking here.






Join Us

Sign Up for National Green Week!
Please note: Your privacy is very important to GEF. We do not share or sell any of your data.  It is with the sole purpose of providing you with relevant information that GEF will contact you.


How to Grow:

Tomato plants can easily be started from seed six to eight weeks before putting them out into the garden. In 70 degree conditions, the seeds will germinate within days. Allow the seedlings to get 15 hours of bright light each day and make sure to fertilize them frequently from the beginning. Always provide vertical support from tomatoes to prevent disease. Provide a cage or trellis at planting time and frequently prune and tie branches to the support as needed.

Watch for appearance of side shoots, or suckers, which form in between the leaves and the main stem. Depending on whether the tomato is a Determinate or Indeterminate variety, the plant will need to be pruned differently. Contact your local garden store for more information on pruning.

How to Harvest:
Pick tomatoes when their color is even and glossy, and the texture is somewhere between firm and soft. The bottom and middle skin of the fruit gives the truest indication of its ripeness, so even if the top hasn’t turned the mature color the tomato may be ready for harvest.

Tomato plants come in two sizes, including Determinate and Indeterminate varieties. Determines grow to a moderate height, produce a lot of fruit, and then stop while Indeterminate continue producing until they are killed by frost or disease.

Heirloom tomato varieties are among the most flavorful and beautiful tomatoes around. The drawback is that they are not quite as productive as modern hybrids and tend to be more sensitive about their growing conditions. However, for the heirloom-lover, these characteristics are a small price to pay for exquisite flavor.


How to Grow:

Watermelons are sensitive to frost and thrive in heat, so if your growing season is short consider planting seeds indoors, then transplanting after the last frost date. Plant in rows with enough space allotted for the size of the mature plant: many home gardeners choose a “bush” variety that requires one third of the space. Watermelons are heavy feeders, so use generous amounts of compost to well-drained soil and fertilize regularly. Keep the soil moist at all times.

How to Harvest:
To detect whether a watermelon is ripe, look for signs of shriveling of the stem near the base of the fruit, yellowing of the underside of the fruit, and ceasing of growth. Or, tap on the fruit and listen for a dull thump.

Cucumber beetles are a prominent pest of watermelons. Seedlings can be protected with row covers.