Tag Archives: Tomato’s

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.

Heirloom and Natural Hybrid Tomato’s

Tomato Growers would like for you to purchase seed from them.
With that said I present this site to you for reference and research purposes only. Purchase seed from your trusted supplier.

Disclaimer: I am not associated with Tomato Growers in anyway. I have never received money or gifts from Tomato Growers.
I have been satisfied with seed I have purchased in the past.
You must do your homework before sending any company money for their advertised products.

Tomato Growers website contains a ton of useful Tomato information including a picture and a detail description about tomato uses, size, days to harvest, disease resistance as well as other useful information.

650 varieties of hybrid and heirloom seed are sold by Tomato Growers supply company. Home page. Listings for tomato, eggplant, pepper, squash and more heirloom garden seed.

Tomato Growers promise to buyers is:
No GMO’s
All of our seeds come from natural hybrid or open-pollinated heirloom varieties.
Tomato Growers do not sell any GMO’s or genetically engineered varieties.

Go directly to Best site I have found to shop or simply learn more about Natural Hybrid and Heirloom tomato varieties.Tomato’s, natural hybrids and heirlooms page.

Never buy heirloom garden seed again. Become a seed saver and save your hard earned cash for other garden projects.

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Bonding with your garden – Seeds and Seedlings

This article appeared in the May 2002 web issue of Horticulture Update,
edited by Dr. William C. Welch, and produced by Extension Horticulture,
Texas Cooperative Extension, The Texas A&M University System, College Station, Texas.

How to Start Seeds Indoors

Gardening is a wonderful pastime and filling your garden with plants you started yourself from seeds simply doubles the pleasure. If you think growing from seed is difficult and takes too much time and equipment, the steps and tips here will dispel those apprehensions.
Basically all you need to know about specific seeds is whether or not they require light to germinate and the number of days germination takes. With a fluorescent light or a very sunny window, a few containers – purchased or found – and a good germinating mix, you will be on your way.

The magic: watching a seedling push up above the soil surface creates a bond between you and your garden.

Materials You Need

Containers: any shallow receptacle that holds soil, such as flats with or without individual cells, peat or paper pots, egg carton bottoms or halved milk cartons. For transplanting seedlings, 2-1/2 to 4-inch diameter plastic, clay or peat pots. To ensure even moisture for seeds – and save yourself time – look for self-watering seed-starting kits.

Germinating mix: commercial or homemade.
DIY: Mix your own seed starter soil, with a 50-50 combination of fine sphagnum peat moss and vermiculite.

Transplanting mix: A good potting soil will do, but a mix specifically formulated for young seedlings is better. The latter usually contains a coarser grade of sphagnum peat moss than a germinating mix and often contains fertilizer.

Fertilizer: balanced all-purpose fertilizer. If you prefer to grow with organic rather than chemical fertilizers, use fish emulsion is very odoriferous but nutritious for plants.

Getting Started

Wet the germinating mix thoroughly and let it drain. It should be moist but not soggy.
Fill flats or individual pots with the mix to within about an inch of the top.

Make shallow row indentations with a ruler or your finger in the flats. It’s easier to separate seedlings when transplanting time comes if you sow in rows. Sow thinly so you do not waste seed. If using pots make shallow holes and set 3 to 4 seeds in each.

Check your seed packet to see if the seeds need light to germinate. If they do, press them lightly into the surface. If they require darkness, cover with l/4 to l/2 inch of mix or vermiculite and tamp it down.

Mist the surface with water to settle the seeds.

Cover the flats with a sheet of plastic wrap or set them in plastic bags. Set pots in plastic bags and close with twist ties. This keeps the mix from drying out while the seeds germinate, but check the mix occasionally and moisten if necessary by spritzing with water.

Place the flat in a warm, bright location or under a fluorescent light. Check the seed packet for specific soil temperatures for germination. Generally, seeds germinate with soil temperatures of 70-75 degrees F.
Hot peppers sometimes will not germinate until soil temperatures reach 80 to 85 degrees F.

When the seedlings emerge, remove the plastic covering. Seed packets give you an idea of germination time, usually 7 to 10 days, sometimes as long as 2 to 3 weeks.

Keep the mix evenly moist, not soggy. Water from the bottom by setting flats and pots in a sink filled with a couple of inches of water; remove them when you see moisture on the surface of the mix.

The first leaves on a seedling are cotyledons, not true leaves. Their shapes usually do not look like the plants familiar leaves. When seedlings in flats grow at least two sets of true leaves, transplant them into larger pots.

Moisten the transplanting mix and let it drain. If you use an all-purpose potting soil, add a handful of vermiculite for each quart of mix to lighten the texture.

Fill 2-1/4 inch pots about three-quarters full.

Use your fingers or a pencil to pick each seedling out of the flat, carefully holding each by the leaves not the stem (plants readily grow new leaves but not broken stems).

Set the transplant in the pot, filling in around the roots with more mix and firming the mix down.

Place pots on a sunny windowsill or under a fluorescent light.

Water transplants regularly from the bottom until they grow 3 to 4 inches tall. Then you can begin to water from the top.

Feed as you water by diluting a water-soluble fertilizer, such as fish emulsion, to half the strength recommended on the label. Or, feed at regular strength every week to 10 days.

You do not need to move most flowering plants into larger pots before setting them outdoors in the garden. Some vegetables, such as tomatoes, produce extensive root systems and grow quickly into lush plants; transplant them at least one more time into larger pots before the weather warms up enough to put them in the garden.

To encourage compact, bushy plants, occasionally pinch off the growing tips of herbs and most flowering plants.

Many seeds germinate best – more quickly and more abundantly – if you do not cover them with a mix when you sow.

Ageratum Lettuce Begonia
Nicotiana Coleus Petunia
Columbine Parsley Dill
Feverfew Savory Salvia
Gaillardia Impatiens Yarrow

A Few Do’s

Know the date of the average last spring frost in your area; you need to start most plants indoors a certain number of weeks before that date. Seed packets include that information.

Give pots on windowsills a quarter turn every week so plants grow straight instead of bending towards the light.

Opt for the easiest plants to start indoors if this is your first attempt.
These include basil, coreopsis, dianthus, gaillardia, gloriosa daily, marigold, oregano, yarrow and zinnia.

Label your seed containers as you sow.

A Few Don’t s

Combine different varieties of seeds in one flat unless they germinate in the same number of days.

Let seedlings in flats grow large before you transplant them. Their roots become too entwined, making them difficult to separate without damage.

Start root vegetables indoors.

Over water seedlings. Soggy soil promotes fungus and root rot.

Outdoor Preferences

Some plants resent being transplanted, but if your growing season is short, you can start them indoors in individual peat or paper pots, which biodegrade; set plant in its pot in the garden.

Annual Phlox Fennel Chervil
Lupine Cucumber Nasturtium
Dill Poppy

2018 Tomato Season

Disclaimer. I do not work for nor do I receive any benefit from this seed seller, however I have had good success using seed I purchased from them.
The big thing is they have more than 600 different types of Tomato seed that are Hybrid or Heirlooms to choose from.

Tomatofest Seed sale Annual Heirloom Tomato Seed Sale through Friday, January 19, 2018.

Our Annual Heirloom Tomato Seed Sale is designed to reach our newsletter subscribers and past customers as our “thank you” for choosing TomatoFest® for your organic heirloom tomato seeds.

From our online heirloom tomato seed catalog of more than 650 tomato seed varieties, we are currently offering you 350 of our most favored heirloom tomato varieties.

We selected many of our most popular and rare heirloom tomato varieties for this sale pricing. Up to a 50% savings off our regular price.

Take advantage of this Tomato Seed Sale to acquire tomato seeds for varieties that you want to grow, even if you do not have the space to grow them this year, as some varieties may not be offered in the future.

Tomato seeds will last 3-5 years if stored properly.
We guarantee the quality of TomatoFest® Heirloom Tomato Seeds

(Note: The balance of our 650 varieties will be at our regular price and we still require a $15 minimum order. Your order may mix sale items with regularly priced items).

Tomatofest Seed sale

“Top Ten” Heirloom Tomato Collection
Dagma’s Favorites Tomato Collection
Gary’s Favorites Tomato Collection
Gourmet Tomato Collection
Sauce Tomato Collection
Favorite Canning Tomato Collection
Cherry Tomato Collection
Rainbow Tomato Collection
Novelty Tomato Collection
Giant Tomato Collection
Short Season Tomato Collection
Cooler Coastal Tomato Collection
Tropical/Hot/Humid Tomato Collection
Tropical Container Gardening Tomato Collection
High Altitude Tomato Collection
Patio Container Collection
Indoor Container Collection 1
Indoor Container Collection 2

Happy 2018 Gardening Season

Garden Success And Failures

Gardening season is ending and the often bewildering holiday season will be dominating our life for the next 2+ months. Fall colors and cool weather will give way to barren and snow covered landscapes and the cold weather of winter.

Now is a good time to look back and evaluate our gardening successes and failures. None of us want to admit that many of our garden failures, both flowering and vegetable were self inflicted.

We often ‘want’ and plant plants that we know or should know are not well suited to our climate and weather conditions. I know avocados will not survive in my climate, but that does not stop me from wanting them in my landscape. Sometimes my wants and desires override my Common Sense.
These failed crops and flowering plants are self inflicted.

Just because a seed package list a plant as being hardy in zone 7(my zone) does not mean it it suitable to withstand my high wind and dry summer heat. Many plants will bolt and produce seed heads. Die from drought stress, will not properly pollinate in the heat of summer. Some plants like an acid soil when I know my soil is mildly to highly alkaline.

Carefully evaluate what crop and just as important, what variety will grow and produce given your climate and weather conditions.

Ask local gardeners that successfully grow flowers and vegetables if you can collect a few seeds or maybe even do a bit of seed trading to improve your gardening success rate.

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Chow Chow Relish – Using Late Season Garden Vegetables

Grandma’s CHOW CHOW

1 peck (1/4 bushel) green tomatoes about {12 or 15 pounds}
5 lbs. strong flavored yellow onions
1 large head of cabbage course chopped
5 lbs. sugar
5 red hot chili peppers {you need at least 2 of these and more if you like your chow chow hot and spicy}
2+ cups chopped sweet green bell peppers
2+ cups chopped sweet red bell peppers
2 to 5 tablespoons mustard seed
1 tablespoon turmeric
3 or 4 tablespoons celery seed
Optional – 1 package of pickling spices
About 1 qt. of cider vinegar

Slice or dice tomatoes and sprinkle with 1 cup salt, place them in a clean old white pillowcase and hang them from a close line pole over night. {This will remove most of the green tomato juice from your bag of sliced green tomato’s} I’ll bet wrapping your sliced tomato’s in cheese cloth would work just as well.

Chop all vegetables and combine in a large kettle. Stir in salt, let stand covered at room temperature overnight, or at least 8 hours. Drain well.

Rinse and drain green tomato’s and other vegetables only once.
Using a meat grinder, {or course chop by hand} coarse grind tomatoes, cabbage, onions, peppers. In a large pot, add sugar, spices to mixture. Add enough vinegar to almost cover. Cook uncovered over a very low fire for 4 hours. Adding additional vinegar as necessary.

Fill hot sterilized 1 pint canning jars to 1/2 inch from the top and seal.
Makes 8 to 10 pints.
Note: Sterilize jars in a boiling water bath insuring jars are completely covered with water. Don’t forget to sterilize jar tops as well.

Process in a boiling water bath for 15 to 20 minutes. Allow jars to cool over night. Check to insure all jars sealed properly. Any jar that did not properly seal should be refrigerated and consumed with in a week or so.

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Excess Green Tomato’s? – Fry Them!

Fried Green Tomato Recipe
They taste great, and it’s a good way to use up excess green tomato’s from your garden.
Many people prepare them the same way they would prepare squash or egg plant for pan frying.

I stole this serving hint idea from an Italian sidewalk cafe near Lake Como in northern Italy, whether it be fried green tomato’s, okra, french fries, squash or egg plant, grate a little ‘real’ Parmesan cheese on them just before serving.
{Don’t even think about using that stuff in a can or box, doing a bad imitation of Parmesan cheese}.

Ingredients
medium size, firm green tomatoes
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup milk
2 beaten eggs
2/3 cup fine dry bread crumbs or cornmeal {Being from the Southwest, I like cornmeal}
1/4 cup good quality olive oil or canola oil if you prefer
Hint: Try replacing 1/2 of the oil with melted butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Cut unpeeled green tomatoes into 1/2 inch slices. Sprinkle slices with salt and pepper. Let tomato slices stand for 45 minutes or more to drain excess water. Meanwhile, place flour, milk, eggs, and cornmeal/bread crumbs in separate shallow dishes.

Heat 2 Tbsp of lard or good quality olive or canola oil in a skillet on medium/medium high heat. Dip tomato slices in milk, then flour, then well beaten eggs, then cornmeal/bread crumbs. In the skillet, (fairly low heat) fry half of the coated tomato slices at a time, for 4-6 minutes on each side (turn only once) until brown. As you cook the rest of the tomatoes, add more lard or oil as needed. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

___________________________________________________________________________
ORIGINAL SOUTHERNER’S FRIED GREEN TOMATOES
fresh green tomatoes
flour or cornmeal or corn bread mix
(corn bread mix – 1/2 flour mixed with 1/2 corn meal)
salt
pepper
Pork Lard (Or a good quality Olive oil or vegetable oil)
Slice tomatoes about 1/4 to 3/8 inch thick. Spread on plate. Sprinkle salt evenly over tomatoes. Continue placing tomato slices in layer over previous layer and sprinkle with salt until all tomatoes have been salted.
IMPORTANT: Let tomato’s drain for 1 to 2 hours. This removes excess water from tomatoes so that they will cook up nice and crispy.

Remove tomatoes from container, rinse off excess salt, pat dry using paper towels.
Mix flour/corn meal, a little salt and pepper (to taste) in bowl. Coat each tomato slice with flour/corn meal. Let tomato slices set 10 – 20 minutes. (This fixes the flour/cornmeal to your tomato’s so it stays affixed to your tomato’s while frying.)

Heat lard/oil in a skillet to medium to medium high. Place tomatoes in oil. (Reduce heat as necessary). Let tomatoes brown on one side, then turn (turn only once) and brown on the other. When tomatoes are a golden brown, remove one at a time and place on paper towels to drain.

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Salsa The Spice Of Summer


Salsa {This is a good basic Salsa}
Prep Time: About 20 minutes
Recipe Yield about 4 cups (2 pints)
Ingredients
4 or 5 large tomatoes, de-seeded and chopped
1 strong yellow onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 to 5 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or {1 Tablespoon dried}
1 tablespoon lime or lemon juice
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 tomatillo, diced (optional) {Best roasted}
salt to taste
2 – medium or 1 large size mild green Chili peppers de-seeded and course chopped
1 or 2 green or red jalapeno peppers, minced {de-seed and de-vane peppers for pepper flavor and less heat from the peppers}(Use 1 pepper, taste Salsa, adjust salt and pepper to your taste.)

Directions
In a food processor or blender, combine tomatoes, onion, cilantro, garlic, oregano, lime juice, vinegar, tomatillo, hot pepper, mild chili pepper(s), salt to taste. Chop /blend a scant 20 or 30 seconds.
In a non-aluminum pan, over medium heat, warm until Salsa reaches 165 to 180 degrees. {Use meat thermometer to check temperature} Pack into (2) hot sterilized pint jars, Seal tightly, when cool, this may take several hours, refrigerate Salsa. Salsa will keep safely under refrigeration for 1 or 2 months.
For longer storage, process Salsa for 20 minutes in a boiling water bath. Cool over night, check to insure jars sealed properly. Store in a cool dark place. Salsa will safely keep 1 or more years.

Nutritional Information open nutritional information.
Calories: 53
Total Fat: 0.5g
Cholesterol: 0mg
Sodium: 13mg
Total Carbs: 11.7g
Dietary Fiber: 3.1g
Protein: 2.3g

Avocado Feta cheese Dip
A chunky, savory summer dip that tastes great with tortilla or corn chips or as a topping for corn or flour tacos.
Prep Time: About 20 Minutes
Recipe Yields about 12 servings
Ingredients

2 plum tomatoes, chopped
1 ripe avocado – peeled, pitted and chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon snipped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or {1/2 Tablespoon dried}
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon red or white wine vinegar {replace with fresh squeezed lemon or lime juice}
4 ounces crumbled feta cheese or {Diced / Grated cheese that you like}
(1 de-seeded finely chopped green or red hot pepper to add more spice to your life)

Directions:
In a bowl, gently stir together avocado, pepper, onion, and garlic. Mix in tomatoes, parsley and oregano. Gently stir in olive oil and vinegar. Then stir in feta {cheese of your choice}. Cover with plastic wrap. Best served chilled for 2 hours.

Nutritional Information
Servings Per Recipe: 12
Calories: 66
Total Fat: 5.6g
Cholesterol: 8mg
Sodium: 108mg
Total Carbs: 2.8g
Dietary Fiber: 1.3g
Protein: 1.8g

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Summer Weather Pattern Settling In For A long Hot Dry Period

After receiving almost 3 inches of rain over the past 5 days, long term weather forecast is for many rainless days with day time temperatures ranging from 95F(35C) to 105F(40.5C). Nights will be at or above 75F(24C).

Tomato’s and Peppers stop pollinating and blooms drop occur when:
Daytime temperatures greater than 32° C (90° ) Pollen sterility occurs, flowers may drop.
35° C (95° F) Much reduced fruit set .
Night time temperatures less than 15.5° C (60° F) or greater than 24° C (75° F) will result in poor fruit set.

Take extra time to check your garden. Cucumbers, squash, zucchini and okra may need to be harvested every morning. A good rule is harvest while young, smallish and still tender.

It is the time of the year tomato horn worms are hatching and are active eating your tomato vines. Check your vines very carefully.
Late evening is a good time to find and remove horn worms as they come out of hiding from the days sunshine and heat and began feeding on your tomato vines.

As temperatures rise and rains are less frequent, observe you garden for signs of drought stress. If plants look stressed, drooping leafs in the early morning you may need to increase your irrigation schedule to 2 or even 3 times a week to your plants healthy.

Heavy mulching around your plants will help in weed control, reduce moisture loss and keep soil in your plants root zone cool.

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Fall Gardens

The official start of summer is still 9 day away, however if you plan to plant a Fall garden, now is the time to select your Fall garden plot and ready it for planting. It is also near the time to plant your seed to establish seedling transplants.

New Fall garden site selection.
The major consideration for garden placement is sunlight. All vegetables require some sunlight; the most popular vegetables require full sun. “Full” sun means at least 8 hours of intense, direct exposure. If such exposure is not received by crops such as tomatoes, peppers and squash (vegetables that contain seed), the plants grow spindly, they have weak stems, drop blooms and are generally nonproductive. Shade in the afternoon (after 3 p.m.) is wonderful; shade in the morning is acceptable. There are vegetables which produce passably in the shade. Generally, those crops such as greens, broccoli, cauliflower, root crops (carrots, turnips) which do not produce a fruit with seed will yield sparingly in semi- shaded areas but even these crops will do better in a full sun condition. Crops such as tomatoes, peppers, squash, beans and cucumbers may not produce anything if grown in the shade; plants will grow tall and spindly. The production potential of the garden’s most popular vegetables depends solely on the amount of direct sunlight they receive.

Turf grass MUST be removed. Don’t think that you can dig or till this existing grass into the garden soil and get rid of it. Even a well-tilled, pulverized garden soil will contain enough bermuda grass sprigs to cause troubles for years to come. New garden areas are doomed before they begin if all bermuda and other lawn grass is not completely removed BEFORE tillage begins. If a raised garden is being considered, sod should be removed BEFORE additional soil is put into the prepared frame.

Chemicals applied to the grass to kill it rather than pulling it out. There are several brand names which contain the weed and grass killer glyphosate. These include Roundup and Kleenup check ingredients on label for the term “glyphosate” and follow label instructions for application rate.

Quick (30-60 days) maturing vegetables are: beets (1 1/2 feet) FT; bush beans (1 1/2 feet) FS; leaf lettuce (1 foot) FT; mustard (1 1/2 feet) FT; radishes (1 1/2 feet) FT; spinach (1 foot) FT; summer squash (3 feet) FS; turnips (1 1/2 feet) FT; and turnip greens (1 1/2 feet) FT.

Moderate (60-80 days) maturing vegetables are: broccoli (3 feet) FT; Chinese cabbage (1 1/2 feet) FT; carrots (1 foot) FT; cucumbers (1 foot) FS; corn (6 feet) FS; green onions (1 1/2 feet) FT; kohlrabi (1 1/2 feet) FT; lima bush beans (1 1/2 feet) FS; okra (6 feet) FS; parsley (1 1/2 feet) FT; peppers (3 feet) FS; and cherry tomatoes (4 feet) FS.

Slow (80 days or more) maturing vegetables are: Brussels sprouts (2 feet) FT; bulb onions (1 1/2 feet) FT; cabbage (1 1/2 feet) FT; cantaloupes (1 foot) FS; cauliflower (3 feet) FT; eggplant (3 feet) FS; garlic (1 foot) FT; Irish potatoes (2 feet) FS; pumpkins (2 feet) FS; sweet potatoes (2 feet) FS; tomatoes (4 feet) FS; watermelon (1 foot) FS; and winter squash (1 foot) FS.

Using your Spring and Summer garden site. Once the decision to have a fall garden has been reached, a gardener must take action drastic action. You must pull out some of those plants that have been nurtured from “babies” in the spring to monsters now. This takes courage and faith! It is recommend that all plants, weeds included, be removed except okra, cherry tomatoes and pole beans if the foliage is healthy. Large-fruited tomatoes may have some small ones still hanging on, but unless you have at least 20-25 good-sized fruit, pull them out, make green tomato relish or chow-chow. Pull the old plants up and discard them. Give them to the garbage man. Don’t try to compost insect and disease ridden plants.

The two charts below are for planting Fall crops in zone 7.
You will need to adjust your planting dates to suite the USDA zone you garden in.

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