Tag Archives: tomato

Tomato’s In Your Spring / Summer Garden

TomatoFest website is a good research tool to assist you in choosing the tomato varieties you wish to grow in the 2021 gardening season. TomatoFest advertises that they have available more than 650 different tomato varieties for you to choose from. [See Disclaimer]

TomatoFest Annual Heirloom Tomato Seed Sale – Ends January 18, 2021 Heirloom Tomato’s seed

TomatoFest – Online heirloom tomato seed catalog of more than 650 tomato seed varieties currently offering 325 heirloom tomato varieties on sale now through January 18, 2021.

Dwarf varieties offered to gardeners who are challenged with limited garden space and those who are limited to growing in containers. Dwarf tomato varieties are popular for producing heavy yields on shorter plants.

TomatoFest Cherry Tomato Seed Collection

TomatoFest Short Growing Season Collection

Disclaimer I am not employed nor do I receive any money or free products from TomatoFest company.
I am providing these links as a Research Tool for your convenience.
As with any purchase research and choose your supplier carefully and wisely.

Speaking only for myself, I have had good service and found their products to be as advertised. Producing healthy productive plants.

Hardy, Tasty – Fall and Winter Soups and Stews

Cooler and colder weather will soon be upon us all in the Northern Hemisphere. Time to think about homemade Soups, Stews and Sauces.

Onion, leeks, celery, carrots, bell pepper and garlic is the flavor base for a wide variety of Western dishes: stocks, soups, stews and sauces.
Most often leeks(white and tender green tops) are used to replace onions when making your flavor base mix. If you use both onion and leeks use 1 part onion and 1 part leek and leek green tops. Note: select only very tender leek greens to use in you flavor base mix.

A good starting mix of Onion/leek, celery, carrots, bell pepper(any color) and 1 to 6 garlic cloves. My recommended ratio is 2:1:1:1.
2:1:1:1 = 2 parts onion or leeks, 1 part celery, 1 part carrots, 1 part bell pepper and garlic to taste. Garlic cloves become milder in flavor when heated(cooked) in this starter flavor base mix.

Medium dice (1/4 to 3/8 inch size) vegetables (do not dice garlic cloves). Salt and white pepper to taste.

In a fry pan cook, diced vegetables and whole garlic, with butter, olive oil, or other fat, for a long time on a very low heat without browning your flavor base vegetables. Flavor base is not sautéed or otherwise hard cooked, the intention is to sweeten the vegetables rather than caramelize them.
Garlic clove(s) can be removed at this point if your not a big fan of sweet tasty garlic paste.

Use this flavor base mix and your favorite soup, stew or pasta sauce recipe for a meal your family is sure to enjoy.

If this flavor base mix is to be served with a pasta dish, add 2 tables tomato paste, 1 table spoon dry basil stir until well mixed continue cooking flavor base mix. Once flavor base vegetables become soft and tender add tomato sauce continue to cook flavor base pasta sauce until it is thick remove from heat add pasta and mix well. Taste, adjust salt and pepper if needed. Sprinkle with a grated cheese that you like and serve while pasta and flavor base mix are still warm.

Treat yourself to a Christmas gift that will keep on giving

Tomato Growers Supply is a valuable research resource that you can use to select next years tomato and pepper varieties that you want to grow in your garden. Their website has a picture and a short informational description of each variety they sell.

Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with this company. I have not been paid nor have I received gifts from this company.
I list them as a ‘Research/Reference site only. As a informational resource. Purchase your seed from a source you trust.

No matter where you purchase your pepper and tomato seed this site is still very helpful in helping you select just the right variety for your growing zone,
and selecting plants sized for the space you have available to grow tomato’s or peppers.

Tomato Growers Supply Company has a free catalog of tomato seeds, pepper seeds, and eggplant seeds. More than 500 varieties of tomatoes and peppers, including huge selections of both hybrid tomato seeds and heirloom tomato seeds, hot chiles, sweet peppers, tomatillos and eggplants.

Tomato’s Seed to Table – Short Course

Don’t Crowd Seedlings.
Don’t Let Seedlings Grow Into Each Other. If you are starting tomatoes from seed, be sure to give the seedlings room to branch out. Close conditions inhibit their growth, so transplant them as soon as they get their first true leaves and move them into 4″ pots about 2 weeks after that.

Provide lots of light.
Tomato seedlings will need either strong, direct sunlight or 14-18 hours under grow lights. Place the young plants only a couple of inches from florescent grow lights. Plant your tomatoes outside in the sunniest part of your vegetable plot.

Put a fan on your seedlings.
Tomato plants need to move and sway in the breeze, to develop strong stems. Provide a breeze by turning a fan on them for 5-10 minutes twice a day.

Preheat the soil in your garden.
Using Black Plastic to Warm the Soil. Tomatoes love heat. Cover the planting area with black or red plastic a couple of weeks before you intend to plant. Those extra degrees of warmth will translate into earlier tomatoes. Tomato’s will germinate below 70 degrees, however best results are obtained when soil temperature is above 70 degrees and below 95 degrees.

Bury them deep.
Bury tomato plants deeper than they come in the pot, all the way up to a few top leaves. Tomatoes are able to develop roots all along their stems. You can either dig a deeper hole or simply dig a shallow tunnel and lay the plant sideways. It will straighten up and grow toward the sun. Be careful not to drive your pole or cage into the stem.

Mulch Later.
Straw Makes a Great Vegetable Garden Mulch. Mulch after the ground has had a chance to warm up. Mulching does conserve water and prevents the soil and soil born diseases from splashing up on the plants, but if you put it down too early it will also shade and therefore cool the soil. Try using plastic mulch for heat lovers like tomatoes and peppers. (See Tip #4)

Remove the Bottom Leaves.
Tomato Leaf Spot Diseases. Once the tomato plants are about 3′ tall, remove the leaves from the bottom 1′ of stem. These are usually the first leaves to develop fungus problems. They get the least amount of sun and soil born pathogens can be unintentionally splashed up onto them. Spraying weekly with compost tea also seems to be effective at warding off fungus diseases.

Pinch & Prune for More Tomatoes
Tomato Suckers in the Joint of Branches. Pinch and remove suckers that develop in the crotch joint of two branches. They won’t bear fruit and will take energy away from the rest of the plant. But go easy on pruning the rest of the plant. You can thin leaves to allow the sun to reach the ripening fruit, but it’s the leaves that are photosynthesizing and creating the sugars that give flavor to your tomatoes.

Water the Tomato Plants Regularly.
Blossom End Rot. Water deeply and regularly while the plants are developing. Irregular watering, (missing a week and trying to make up for it), leads to blossom end rot and cracking. Once the fruit begins to ripen, lessening the water will coax the plant into concentrating its sugars. Don’t withhold water so much that the plants wilt and become stressed or they will drop their blossoms and possibly their fruit.

Getting Them to Set Tomatoes.
Determinate type tomatoes tend to set and ripen their fruit all at about the same time, making a large quantity available when you’re ready to make sauce.
You can get indeterminate type tomatoes to set fruit earlier by pinching off the tips of the main stems in early summer.

Iowa State University is for those of you that garden in the northern 1/2 of the U.S. University of Texas provides information that most often effect southern state tomato gardens.

No matter where you live both sites have a huge amount of useful information on Identifying and treating tomato diseases. Don’t be discouraged or intimidated by the sheer numbers of tomato diseases. I’m pretty sure you will not suffer from all of them this year. in fact, insect control very well maybe your biggest problem in a home garden.

Iowa State University Contains Pictures, description, Control and Treatment of tomato disease, bacterial and virus infections.

Texas A and M University Contains Pictures, description, Control and Treatment of tomato disease, bacterial and virus infections.

Insect control just like disease control starts with properly identifying the insect(s) that are causing your problems.
Colorado State University will help you identify and control some of the most common tomato insect pest.

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Dried Tomato’s Packed In Olive Oil

Selecting tomato’s to be dried. Select any kind of Tomato, ripe, but not over ripe, still firm and free of insect damage or bruising. The yield varies considerably depending on the moisture content of the tomatoes, which depends upon the type of tomato you select weather and gardening conditions.
* Oven drying, set oven temperature to 130 to 145 degrees. Prop open (crack oven door) to allow warm moist air to escape.
* Counter top electric dehydrator. Follow instructions for your dehydrator.

Cut small tomatoes, grape, cherry and Roma types in half. Cut large tomatoes in to 1/4 size. Under running cold water remove seeds. Dust with your choice of herbs. Place tomatoes ‘Skin Side Down’ on drying racks.

Drying time depends on temperature and water content of the tomatoes, the thickness of the slices, and how well the air is able to circulate around them. When done, the tomatoes should be flexible, like a fresh raisin, not brittle. Dehydrating Your Fruit and Vegetable Harvest
Hint If you are going to pack your tomato’s in olive oil, error on being a little moist over being overly dry.

Let your tomatoes cool to room temperature this will take about 20 to 30 minutes. Fill zip lock bags. Don’t overfill the bags, leave a little room for expansion. Do try to avoid leaving any excess air pockets! A vacuum bag is a better choice. Be sure to squeeze out the extra air.

Storing your dried tomatoes. Store dried tomatoes in a cool dark place. The freezer is best, the dried tomatoes will retain their color and flavor for about 9 to 12 months. A refrigerator is OK for a few weeks, but if there is much moisture left in them, they WILL soon start to get moldy.

Packing Dried Tomato’s In Oil

Using wide mouth, canning jars, 1/2 or 1 pint size. You can use larger jars they’ll store more tomatoes. Wash and sterilize your jars and utensils.

Layering your dried tomatoes in the jar adding between each layer. A pinch salt, a thin slice of garlic, pinch of dried basel and oregano. Repeat this process until you’re nearly at the top of the jar (leave 1/2 inch or more of head space). Use a spoon and press down to compress the ingredients.

Fill your jars with olive oil, make sure that the tomatoes are completely covered with olive oil.
Hint Let jars set a few minutes allowing air bubbles to escape and top off with oil as needed.

Tightly seal and store the jar in a cool, dark place. I think being refrigerated is best, Not Stored in a pantry.

Let your tomatoes sit for a week before consuming them. This will allow your tomato’s, spices and olive oil to infuse and allow your tomatoes to become soft. Ready to grace any dish you prepare.

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Preserving Your Excess Tomato Crop

At some point most gardeners will have a few or a lot of excess tomato’s. Ripe tomato’s have a short shelf life, so to preserve your crop consider one of the following options.

Preparing Tomato’s for Canning or Freezing Select only disease free, vine ripe, tomato’s.

Freezing Tomato’s is fast, easy and a good option even if you only have a few excess tomato’s.
Wash tomato’s under cold running water. Dry your tomato’s well and pack whole in freezer bags.
Hint After thawing your frozen tomato’s the skin will easily slip off.

Acidification – to ensure safe acidity in whole, crushed, or juiced tomatoes, add two tablespoons of bottled lemon juice or 1/2 teaspoon of citric acid per quart of tomatoes.
Hint Four tablespoons of a 5 percent acid vinegar per quart may be used instead of lemon juice or citric acid.
For pints, use one tablespoon bottled lemon juice or 1/4 teaspoon citric acid or 2 tablespoons vinegar.
Lemond juice, citric acid or vinegar can be added directly to the jars before filling.
* Some gardeners add a small amount sugar (1/2 to 1 teaspoon) to offset acid taste.

Wash tomatoes under cold running water. Dip in boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds or until skins split. Dip in cold(ice) water. Slip off skins and remove cores.
Hint Coring tomato’s is optional.
Leave whole or cut in halve or quarters. Add bottled lemon juice, vinegar or citric acid to jars.
{Optional} Add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of salt per quart to the jars.

Raw pack Heat water to boiling for packing tomatoes. Fill hot sterilized jars with raw tomatoes. Cover tomatoes in the jars with boiling water, leaving 1/2 inch head space.

Hot pack Put prepared tomatoes in a large saucepan and add enough water to completely cover them. Boil tomatoes gently for 5 minutes. Fill hot sterilized jars with hot tomatoes. Add cooking liquid to the jars to cover the tomatoes, leaving 1/2 inch head space.
Optional Hint Strain cooking liquid to remove tomato seeds.

A Word Of Caution.
Canning tomato’s is easy, However, Carefully Follow the canning times to insure your tomato’s reach the temperature required to kill all harmful bacteria.

Table 1. Recommended
process time for water-packed Whole or Halved Tomatoes
in a boiling water canner.
  Process Time at Altitudes of
Style of Pack Jar Size 0 – 1,000 ft 1,001 – 3,000 ft 3,001 – 6,000 ft Above 6,000 ft
Hot &
Pints 40 min 45 50 55
Quarts 45 50 55 60
Table 2. Recommended
process time for water-packed Whole or Halved Tomatoes
in a dial-gauge pressure canner
  Canner Gauge Pressure (PSI) at Altitudes of
Style of Pack Jar Size Process Time 0 – 2,000 ft 2,001 – 4,000 ft 4,001 – 6,000 ft 6,001 – 8,000 ft
Hot &
Pints or Quarts 15 min 6 lb 7 lb 8 lb 9 lb
10 11 12 13 14
Table 3. Recommended
process time for water-packed Whole or Halved Tomatoes
in a weighted-gauge pressure canner.
  Canner Gauge Pressure (PSI) at Altitudes
Style of Pack Jar Size Process Time 0 – 1,000 ft Above 1,000 ft
Hot &
Pints or
15 min 5 lb 10 lb
10 10 15

Hint Add a bit of spice to your life. Before packing jars with tomato’s, add a spoon full of finely chopped onion, garlic, oregano, basel, pepper (hot or mild) or other spices you like.

This is an updated version of a July 2013 posting.

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‘Adult’ Tomato Juice – Homemade – Quick And Easy

Select ripe juicy tomato’s.
Wash then blanch in boiling water 1 minute.
Cool quickly in ice water.
Peel tomato’s and remove stem scar.
Cut tomato’s into quarters.
Add 1 tbs worcester sauce.
Add 1/2 tbs Louisiana or tabasco hot sauce.
Add 1/2 tbs ‘non’ iodized salt.
Using a blender, puree tomato’s.
Carefully measure your tomato puree.
Add an equal volume of 100 proof(50%) Vodka or Gin.
Stir well.
Seal jar using a ‘new’ lid.
Store tomato juice in your refrigerator.
Serve with a fresh cut stick of celery.
Juice will keep longer than it takes you to consume this juice.

Country life is a good life.

Happy Fall gardening

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Corn-o-rama ?

Early planted corn ‘about 30 stalks’, is in full tassel stage and it looks like I may get as many as 60 ears of corn to harvest by the end of this week.

I have never planted this variety ‘Peaches & Cream’ sold by Ferry-Morse seed company. Seed package said ears will be 7 1/2 inches long. Well truth is I’m not convinced that my crop will ever be more than 6 or so inches long. My stunted corn crop problem was not caused by a lack of moisture or fertilized.

I will not plant this variety next year. First and second planting had at best only about 75 percent germination rate. The stalks are small and under size for their age. The ears are also small. Well filled out but small all the same.

Second planting of corn, same variety and supplier, had a poor germination out of about 35 seeds planted I have about 15 stalks that will enter tassel stage near the 30 of this month. Even with this poor stand, I may, with luck, harvest near 30 ears of corn.

These two plantings will give me and family a lot of smallish ears of fresh corn and a good number of ears to freeze for this winters table.

On the sunny side, I discovered a sunflower only about 2 feet tall but if has a flower at least 8 inches in diameter and an unusually light, bright yellow flower. Grin … no idea where it came from.

O-yes, my porch container planted tomato has started blooming. Loads of grape size tomato’s, mmmm, that’s yet to be seen.

A New Hybrid Tomato/Potato – Known As “TomTato” Or “Ketchup ‘n’ Fries”

Source [Fox News] Ketchup ‘n’ Ffies

You Can’t make this stuff up. Tom Tato or Ketchup ‘n’ Fries is now available in the US after first being released in the UK.

Ketchup ‘n’ Fries combines a vine growing cherry tomatoes with roots growing white potatoes but it is not genetically (GMO) engineered. Ketchup ‘n’ Fries is created by grafting a tomatoe vine onto a potato rootstock.

Ketchup ‘n’ Fries a non-GMO plant in a 2.5-inch pot from Territorial Seed Company

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Tomato Horn Worm And Tobacco Horn Worm

Of all the tomato growing problems that I can take action to control. The tomato/tobacco horn worm has to be on the top of my list of things to control.
Tobacco horn worm larva is generally green with seven diagonal white lines on the sides and a curved red tipped horn.
Tomato horn worms have eight V-shaped marks on each side and their horn is straighter and blue-black in color. Horn worms are the larvae of hawk or sphinx moths, also known as hummingbird moths. Tobacco horn worm are generally the most commonly seen of the two, but both can be found and may even be present on the same plant.

Tomato/tobacco horn worms are the largest caterpillars found in this area and can measure up to 4 inches in length. The prominent “horn” on the rear of both gives them their name.

The size of these garden pests allows them to quickly defoliate tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants, and peppers. Occasionally, they may also feed on green fruit. Gardeners are likely to spot the large areas of damage at the top of a plant before they see the culprit. Horn worms are often difficult to see because of their protective coloring. They are not much for the heat of direct sunlight, they tend to feed on the interior of the plant during the day and are more easily spotted when they move to the outside of the plant at dawn and dusk.

Control of horn worms:
* Handpicking. The large size of horn worms makes it easy to get hold of them. Once removed from the plant, they can be destroyed by snipping them in half with shears or dropping them into a bucket of soap water.
* Rototilling (deep digging) your garden, turning up the soil after harvest will help destroy any pupae that may be there.
* Biological. Bacillus thuringensis, or BT (e.g., Dipel, Thuricide), is also considered very effective, especially on smaller larvae. Spray BT as a precautionary measure.

Natural enemies, such as the parasitic wasp that lays its eggs on the horn worm’s back, are common. If found, such worms should be left in the garden so the emerging wasps can parasitize other horn worms.
* Insecticides labeled for horn worm control can be used, products containing carbaryl, permethrin, spinosad insecticides. Read the label carefully before using any insecticide and follow all instructions in their use.

ADELAIDE, Australia – Officials say more than 168 buldings more three dozen homes (38 at last count) have been destroyed or badly damaged and almost 30 people have sought medical treatment as a result of a massive wildfire that has raged out of control for days across farms and woodland in southern Australia.

Pray for our Australian friends and ask what ever God you believe in to put an end to the fires and suffering.

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