From Our Readers: Much about Mulch and More - Carolina Country

From Our Readers: Much about Mulch and More

August's letters to the editor

From Our Readers: Much about Mulch and More

Much About Mulch

Q: What is the best mulch to use on tomatoes? My tomatoes right now look very good and are coming along very well, but I read the article about mulch [June 2016 Carolina Gardens, “Garden To Do’s”] and thought I’d add it to my plants now.

Dennis  & Donna Patterson, submitted on

A: Compost, whether a commercially bagged variety or some made in your backyard, gets my vote for the best tomato mulch material for two reasons: (1) It is nutrient-rich, and tomatoes are heavy feeders; and (2) it is a dark color, which absorbs and retains warmth from the sun in the soil — a definite plus when trying to keep heat-loving tomatoes happy.

L.A. Jackson, author of our regular Carolina Gardens column


Onie (on right) with Latifah “T.T.” Columbus at Clara Manor.

Onie’s Clara Manor Family

I was never happy in my previous residences — I did not know who or where to turn when I needed to talk. I am really happy here at Clara Manor. When the other residents or myself need someone to talk to, the staff here always give us an ear and advice. We are all happy and family-oriented here at Clara Manor. I have a very nice room to sleep in and feel as if I am home with my own family.

I am also happy because my immediate family — brother, sisters, aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews — are all there for me, care and love me. If I need something they look out for me. I also have a church that I love. I thank God for my friends at Clara and away from Clara.

These few pictures that I took are of some of the staff who work here at Clara Manor. They always make sure we are feeling okay. They help me look on the bright side, tell me to look to the future and to not look at the past, and they say I look like I have Jesus in my heart — and I do have Jesus in my heart.

Onie Frances Rogerson, Washington

Editor’s Note: Onie, who frequently writes to Carolina Country, moved to Clara Manor last year. She submitted photos of several employees (not pictured here: Chinna Allen; Jamillia Staton; and Felesia Waldron, who sometimes writes her poems).

USDA HomeCanning

Safe Canning Tips

Our July issue included canning recipes containing tomatoes, and a reader questioned the safety of such recipes. In order to can safely using a water bath canner (versus a pressure canner), the proper combination of heat and acidity must be reached in the combined ingredients to prevent the growth of the bacterium Clostridium botulinum, which may cause botulism — a deadly form of food poisoning.

For more insight, we reached out to a North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service food safety specialist, who recommended the National Center for Home Food Preservation as the go-to source for safety-tested recipes with supporting data. The center has resources on safe canning available online (, including the “Complete Guide to Home Canning” from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which contains many new research-based recommendations for canning safer and better quality food at home.

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