About Me

about_picI was born in the award-winning-baby-boomer year of 1948 in quiet, bucolic New Philadelphia/Dover, Ohio to an avid backyard gardener father and a canning-literate mother. Even my grandfather (famous for his “widows’ gardens”) had inculcated my dad and me with his love of everything planted, everything picked and edible from one’s own soil and in spite of all this, I became a dentist.  After graduating from Ohio State University with a doctor of dental surgery degree in1972 and in order to fulfill my selective service obligation (and perhaps avoid a Viet Nam commitment), I moved to Winslow, Arizona, known mainly for Charles Lindbergh having designed their airport, where I served my two years with the Indian Health Service as a dentist to the Navajo Nation.  The lure of the majestic San Francisco Peaks was too strong, though, and I migrated the short distance to Flagstaff (elevation, 7000 ft.) to set up my practice in general dentistry, 1975 to present.  I have also spent a good deal of time in jail–one-half day a week (from 1992 to present) as dentist for the Coconino County Jail Facility.

I was a member of the inaugural Coconino County Master Gardener class of 1991, was certified shortly thereafter and have been extremely active in volunteering my time for various Master Gardener sanctioned functions including teaching the “vegetable gardening” section of all succeeding M.G. sessions (1992 to present).  I helped establish the Coconino County Master Gardener Association in 2009 and served as its first president.  I lend my experience and expertise to various boards, demonstrations and talks in my community and was awarded the “Extensionist of the Year” award in 2010 by the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension Service.

My heart, though, is irrevocably entwined with the tomato; from seed starts to the first frost.

angusCurrently, I live in north-central Flagstaff (with Sheryl, Angus the Scotty and Morgan the cat) and do  gardening in a small backyard, but my tomatoes reside in self-watering 5-gallon containers on a south-facing, second floor balcony which affords them an ideal growing microclimate (serving as a good example of growing tomatoes and other food crops in small spaces). At 7000 ft. with a growing season of about 105 days and temperature fluctuations daily of perhaps 40 degrees, tomatoes are a tremendous challenge.

I also reside in Clarkdale, AZ on the weekends and tend to my orchard.

One thought on “About Me

  1. SusanLockwood

    I have a question. I have the old soil from my tomato planters and it is full of that coconut matting and it looks like it would be a good addition to my raised beds to help with drainage and it might add some organics too. Would there be a problem with reusing in this way–ie tomato viruses or other problems?
    Tomato Jim is a good name. I always call you Dr, Tomatohead or the Tomato God or something similar. I mean this is the most respectful way.

    Susan Lockwood


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