Archives for Vegetables category

Grow Tomato Plants from Heirloom Seeds

Spring, Tomatoes, Vegetables | No Comment

Tired of the same old boring, solid-red beefsteak tomatoes?  Looking for something a little more lively or different, both in color and even flavor?  Why not try planting some heirloom tomatoes in your garden this spring?

What are heirloom tomatoes you ask?  Pretty much what they sound like:  tomato seeds that have been passed down from generation to generation, grown to keep them as close to the original style as possible rather than hybridizing them with other types of tomatoes for flavor or color.  Then the seeds from each year are kept to create the next season’s crop.

The tomatoes pictured to the left are called Black Krimand they are a Russian heirloom seed.  They produce 8-12 oz. size fruit which are globe-shaped, full flavored and very juicy.  They have a dark reddish-purple interior with a deep green thin delicate skin.  They can be grown staked or caged.

For something even more unusual, why not try the Black Sea Manvariety?  Pictured below, they grow on small plants with medium-sized fruit that looks a bit like a watermelon gone crazy, with a red interior and green exterior and are full of flavor.

Only feeling a little adventurous?  Then why not try your basic Beefsteak heirloom seeds? You still great the great tomato we all know and love for putting on hamburgers, but in a variety of colors you may not have tried before, including yellows, oranges and deep reddish-purple.

Cool Season Garden Time

Fall, Gardening By Season, Vegetables | No Comment

Luigi Diamanti / FreeDigitalPhotos.netDepending on where you live, this is now the perfect time to plant your cool weather vegetables: lettuce, kale, broccoli, arugula, chard, mustard, carrots, radishes, cauliflower, peas, potatoes, spinach, cabbage, (even Brussels sprouts if you’re inclined.)  There’s nothing like having fresh veggies all winter long…

If you live in a place where it doesn’t freeze at night, a regular garden patch will do just fine.  However, if you live in a colder climate, then you may want to consider using raised beds and covers to keep your plants warm enough.   Read the rest of this entry »

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Try Winter Squash for a Pick-Me-Up

Gardening By Season, Nutrition, Vegetables, Winter | No Comment

 Squashes are a great way to help boost your body’s energy levels, plus they can aid you in your fight to keep your blood sugar even, and they can even fight wrinkles from the inside out. According to an article in FOR WOMEN FIRST, here are some squashes you should try out to get these benefits: Read the rest of this entry »

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Growing Tomatoes – Homegrown Are The Best

Fruits, Tomatoes, Vegetables | No Comment

I’m one of the many people who thought, “How different could a homegrown tomato be from the ones we can buy at the store?” Boy, was I surprised!

A few years back, Mom moved in with me and wanted to start a veggie garden similar to the ones we had growing up. However, because we lived in the Pacific Northwest back then, tomatoes weren’t high on the list because the climate isn’t always tomato-friendly. We had more cool weather fare, such as peas, lettuce and more, so I never really tasted a homegrown tomato until I was an adult.

However, Southern California has the sun, heat and long growing season that can bring out the best in the little red fruits (or vegetables depending on which you prefer) so we figured we’d add them into the garden mix that time around. In fact, the growing conditions were so good, the plants we picked up at the local Home Depot’s garden center ended up growing to almost 6′ tall, both the beefsteak-type (Mom’s favorite) and the cherry tomato plants (my personal preference.)

What’s funny is I even started liking the beefsteak variety after we starting growing tomatoes at home – seems they actually DO have a nice sweet flavor, unlike the tasteless, boring ones we’ve gotten over the years from stores. And all it took was a little bookcase we’d recycled, turned on its side, lined with hardware cloth on the bottom (to keep the gophers from munching out all the good stuff) and tossed in a few bags of vegetable soil mix from Home Depot. (That and sun and regular watering, of course.) The cherry tomatoes came out so sweet and big, they were like candies – both Mom and I would pluck them right off the plants and pop them in our mouths, savoring the sudden sugary squirt of juice as we’d bite into them. (Most days they never made it into the house or into salads…)

The next year turned out even better – seems growing tomatoes from ‘volunteers’ (seeds that were left over from the previous season’s escapee tomatoes) were even healthier, larger and for some reason almost perfectly consistently-sized, plus they had even more taste, if that’s possible.

If you’ve never tried growing tomatoes yourself, you really should. It’s a taste treat not to be missed. And with some of the new kits, you can grow them indoors now as well as outdoors, so you don’t have to wait for spring/summer any more to enjoy the great taste of freshly homegrown tomato.

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