Dig For Your Dinner – Growing Heirloom Tomatoes From Seed

planting tomato seeds

heirloom tomatoes

It’s my favorite time of year.  Yesterday, I planted my heirloom tomato seeds.  I grow tons of stuff for the garden, but somehow, growing tomatoes makes me feel all warm and garden-y inside {garden-y is definitely a word}.  Maybe it’s that they kick off the warm season veggies, or that they produce pounds and pounds of produce, or maybe it’s just that it makes my nerdy little gardening heart happy–whatever.  All I know is that I love all things tomatoes…tomato sauce, salsa, pizza sauce {please read like Bubba from Forrest Gump}.

planting tomato seeds

If you have never grown Heirloom tomatoes, you are seriously in for a treat.  They each have a super unique flavor, and it’s near impossible to get them at the grocery store.

tomato seedlings

How to Grow Heirloom Tomatoes

If you are starting tomato seeds indoors, I really do recommend a grow light–otherwise, they get super leggy {spindly looking} and just don’t turn out as strong.  Plant seeds about 1/8″ deep.  Plant a couple of seeds in each pot to ensure germination.  when they are about 2″ tall, thin them down to one seedling per pot.  Tomatoes like the soil to be pretty darn warm, so make sure to keep them in a warmer spot in the house, and if you are using a window for light, make sure there isn’t a draft.

tomato seedlings under grow lights

If you do have a grow light, keep the light about 3″ inches from the top of the soil and maintain that spacing as the seedlings emerge.  Tomatoes will lose their first set of leaves, and then the true leaves will appear, so don’t be alarmed.  You will need to transplant them into larger pots before they are ready to go outside, then put them under the grow lights for a couple of weeks.  They will be ready to transplant outside in about 8 weeks {provided that the weather is warm enough}.

tomato plants organic gardening

To transplant them outdoors, make sure to harden them off first.  Choose a sunny, well-drained location.  When you  plant them, plant them and their lowest set of leaves in the dirt.  That will encourage better rooting.  I like to trim up the rest of the leaves so that when I water, it doesn’t splash up onto the leaves and cause disease.  Tomaters hate to have their leaves wet.  Put a tomato cage around the plant, being careful not to drive the wire into the roots.  You can also stake the plants, if you have lots of plants or don’t want to buy cages.

If space is an issue, you can grow your tomatoes upside down in hanging baskets or in a Topsy Turvy.

tomatoes

When Are Tomatoes Ready to Harvest?

Tomatoes are ready to harvest when they have developed a deep red, orange, purple {whatever the variety you are growing} color and are firm to the touch.  They may still have a little yellow around the stem.  Just pluck them off of the vine with your fingers.  Tomatoes that are ready to harvest will pull from the vine fairly easily–if you need to put your back into it, you may want to give it another day or two.

purple Cherokee heirloom tomato

My Favorite Tomato Recipes:

Heirloom Tomato Sauce RecipeHeirloom Tomato Sauce

baked-tomatoesBaked Tomatoes with Pine Nut and Basil

recipe-crock-pot-pizza-sauceHomemade Crock Pot Pizza Sauce

  • Like on FaceBook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly and PDF

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

We Now Interrupt This Blog… To Pick Fruits and Vegetables

picking blueberries

picking blueberries

Last night The Girl and I picked a whopping 3 quarts of blueberries. Talk about a bumper crop.gathering blueberries

We planted 12 blueberry bushes the second spring after we moved in and this is the first year we’ve been able to pick this many berries. When I planted the blueberry bushes I choose 6 different varieties so they would ripen over several months.

In hindsight, I should have just planted all of the same variety because having a large garden is a lot of work and having to come back every couple of days to check on the berries gets a little tedious. Oh well. Live and learn I guess.

picking pears

Pears. We’ve got them. I thought for sure after last years giant crop we wouldn’t get any this year. mavis butterfield

But I was wrong. We might not have as many pears as last year… but holy cow man, they’re huge. green pumpkin

How are your pumpkins doing? At this rate ours might be decorating our porch by early September. purple cherokee tomato

And heirloom tomatoes? We’re swimming in them.

italian kale plant

Kale? Yep, we’ve got that too.
green cabbage

Would you believe I picked 3 heads of cabbage this morning? Is it just me, or does picking cabbage in the middle of August just seem weird? Cabbage is a cool weather plant after all, I don’t know, it just seems odd.

Oh well, I’m not complaining. Gardening is RAD. Now matter what you’ve harvesting.

Wouldn’t you agree?

~Mavis

 

  • Like on FaceBook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly and PDF

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Greenhouse Gardening – Planting Heirloom Tomatoes

magnum glass greenhouse garden

magnum glass greenhouse garden

Over the weekend The Girl and I planted a few more tomato plants in the greenhouse. We’ve still got another week or two before setting them outside in the garden beds {we’ve had lot’s of rain lately and it’s just not warm enough outside yet}. Our greenhouse tomato plant count is now up to 7!heirloom tomato plants in the greenhouse

I absolutely LOVE growing tomatoes in the greenhouse and I think later on this week I’ll go around and plant basil seeds around the bases of all the tomato plants. I don’t know about you, but basil and tomatoes are one of my favorite things to harvest each summer.
lucy the puggle dog

Inspector Lucy.

growing lettuce in containers

The lettuce we grew in the giant stock tanks has all been harvested. Now all that’s left is one giant pot of mesclun lettuce and 2 pots of romaine.
growing lettuce in gutters

We’ve also got another batch of lettuce growing in a galvanized gutter as well.slugs

Slugs! Grrr… have they found their way into your garden as well? tomato flowers

Our first tomato flowers.

growing vegetables in a greenhouse

I can’t think of a better hobby than gardening. With the exception of pulling weeds, gardening has got to be my hands down favorite thing on earth to do. Well, I take that back. Eating fresh baked pies and travelling are pretty high up there on the hobby list too. 😉

Gardening is RAD, no matter how you do it.

How is YOUR garden doing these days? Have you planted any tomatoes yet? If so, what kind are you growing this year?

~Mavis

  • Like on FaceBook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly and PDF

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Greenhouse Gardening – Tomatoes in October? No Way!

magnum glass greenhouse

magnum glass greenhouse

Baby it’s cold outside! My goodness. I went out to water the plants in the greenhouse this morning and it was pretty darn chilly.  I need to get a warmer bathrobe if I’m going to be out watering my plants at 10 am. 😉

perennial herbs

So far the sage, thyme and chives I transplanted alongside the greenhouse last month are hanging in there.

perennial herbs

The oregano, rosemary and garlic chives are thriving too.

sun gold tomatoes

But check this out. Sun Gold tomatoes. In October. How cool is that? These are real ones too. 😉 Not those tasteless ones you find at the grocery store that were picked last week and then ripened in the back of a truck as they were shipped across the country.

green zebra tomatoes

I’m not sure how much longer the tomatoes will last, but for now, I’m enjoying every one that I can. Even these green zebra tomatoes. Aren’t they pretty?

old barrel water spout

Oh, and thanks to the One Hundred Dollars a Month Reader who suggested I move my rain barrel into the greenhouse. You suggested I fill it up to let the afternoon sun warm up the water {thus warming up the greenhouse}. So far so good.

Okay, so maybe I don’t know if it’s actually warming up the greenhouse at this point, but you know what? I don’t have to drag the hose out there so I’m happy. 😉

growing lettuce in containers

And last but not least, take a look at the lettuce I have growing in a 3-tiered planter. How cool is that?

Looks like salad is on the menu tonight.

Peace Out Girl Scouts,

I’m off to plant some seeds.

~Mavis

  • Like on FaceBook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly and PDF

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Heirloom Tomato Harvest

purple Cherokee heirloom tomato

purple Cherokee heirloom tomato

Mama Mia! Check out this Cherokee Purple Tomato I found yesterday while I was picking tomatoes.

This gorgeous heirloom tomato weighed in at 1 pound 5 ounces. Not too shabby if you ask me. After I spotted the Cherokee Purple tomato I ran inside and made the HH come out and take a picture of me holding it. Ha! And yes, he thinks I am a total nut.

But I couldn’t help myself. Heirloom tomatoes are beautiful.

Here are a few other tomato pictures I snapped:

speckled Roman tomato

Speckled Roman Tomato. Have you tried growing these? Speckled Roman tomatoes are great for making sauce. {And they look cool} I love, love, love these!
green zebra tomato

Green Zebra Tomatoes. You know these are ripe when they start to turn a wee bit yellow. Green Zebra tomatoes are a little tangy, but oh so good.yellow pear tomatoes

Yellow Pear Tomatoes. I grow these every year for The Girl, and because they are great in salads and add a nice color to salsa recipes too.

Principe Borghese

Principe Borghese Tomatoes. Oh my word are these good. You totally need to add these to your seed wish list for next year. This is my first time growing these and I’ll be growing them next year for sure.

red zebra tomato

Red Zebra. These are great too!ace bush tomato

Ace bush tomatoes are an excellent slicer as well as great for sauce.

Italian Roma bush tomato

Italian Roma Bush Tomato. These are just like the ones you’d get at the grocery. Well, not exactly, these ones taste 180 million times better because they were homegrown. 😉

heirloom tomatoes

Here’s yesterday’s harvest. Pretty stinkin’ awesome if you ask me. Too bad we can’t grow vegetables like this year round in Western Washington.

~Mavis

  • Like on FaceBook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly and PDF

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Mavis Garden Blog – Late Fall Tomato Harvest

green tomatoes

I’m exhausted.

I’ve been working in the garden all afternoon and for the life of me I couldn’t figure out what was taking me so long to harvest and pull up all the tomato plants.

Then I realized what I had eaten today. 11 homemade chocolate chip cookies, and about 22 cups of hot tea. No wonder I feel like such a slacker, I’ve been wandering around the backyard all afternoon in a sugar coma unable to focus.

Yes, some days I eat like a teenage boy.  I mean c’mon, I can’t healthy things like kale and smoothies everyday of the week now can I?  That would be totally boring.

Take a look at these heirloom tomato.  Aren’t they beautiful?

I haven’t gotten all the tomatoes picked yet, but I’m almost there.  Only 6 more plants to go and then I’ll be done.  They I get to plant some Swiss chard.  Geez wiz… That sounds like fun huh?

What did you do this afternoon… Or rather what did you eat?

Hopefully it was a wee bit more nutritious than cookies and tea.

~Mavis

  • Like on FaceBook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly and PDF

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Ripen Tomatoes on The Vine – Hang Tomatoes Upside Down

mavis butterfield garden

A few days ago I decided it was finally time to get serious about picking and clearing out our heirloom tomato beds.  Each raised garden bed contained about 8 tomato plants, so there was a pretty significant amount of tomatoes to harvest.

After pulling up the plants and sorting the tomatoes into piles {green tomatoes and ripening tomatoes}, I sifted through the dirt for stragglers.

Then, I did something I have never done before, I decided to take YOUR advise, and hang one of our red pear tomato plants upside down in our unheated garage.  According to several readers, this old school tomato ripening method really works.

I have a feeling if I were to hang the tomato plants inside the house where it’s a bit warmer, the tomatoes might ripen a bit faster.  But clearly, there is NO WAY ON EARTH, the Handsome Husband would put up with that.  Not in a million years.

So what do YOU think?  Have you tried this before? Does it really work?

Should I go ahead and pull up the rest of my tomatoes and hang them upside down?

~Mavis

Mavis Garden Blog – 5 Tips for Ripening Tomatoes on the Vine

  • Like on FaceBook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly and PDF

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Bartering with Mavis – Trading with Mrs. Hillbilly

green anna swartz hubbard squash

This morning Mrs. Hillbilly stopped by to do a little bartering.  She was looking for some vegetables, and I was looking for some sour cream and nuts.

To me it was the perfect trade.  I’m a heavy on Hubbard squash and tomatoes right now, so I was more than happy to get a few heirloom tomatoes off my counter, and a few squash off my back porch.  Sometimes growing your own food is fun, and other times it seems like you’ll never get caught up on processing it all for winter storage.  So when a neighbor comes along at just the right time and wants to barter, I greet them with open arms.

A new 2 pound tub of sour cream, 1 pound of almonds, 12 ounces of peanuts and 5 ounces of shelled pistachios.  Hot diggety, I’m happy with that.

Do you barter with your friends and family too?  Well you should. Don’t be afraid to ask, the worst thing they’ll tell you is no.

~ Mavis

  • Like on FaceBook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly and PDF

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.