Growing Better-Tasting Tomatoes
If you really want to earn bragging rights for the best tomatoes in your neighborhood, now's the time to do some research and plan ahead for that bumper crop. Oregon State University offers some handy growing hints at its Grow Your Own Tomatoes Web site.
Favorite or New Plant
Lemon verbena (Aloysia triphylla) isn't what I consider an attractive plant, but it makes up for its natural unruliness by producing a pungent, clean, sharp, lemony fragrance that I love. On a sunny day the fragrance permeates the entire garden, and touching the leaves releases even more fragrance.
The plant will grow to 6 feet or more and has narrow 3-inch leaves arranged in whorls of three or four along each branch. If it's pinched and pruned, it can be trained against a wall where heat from the sun will intensify its fragrance.
While it appreciates a light and well-drained soil, poor soil produces stronger plants able to survive cold winters. Sow seeds in the spring or take softwood cuttings in late spring to propagate. I harvest the leaves and dry them to add to potpourri or dessert recipes. This way I can enjoy the sunny lemon fragrance all year long.