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Proceed with Caution April 1, 2009

Posted by liajo in garden thoughts and ideas, How to tips.
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organic20produceIt seems like everyone is looking for ways to save money, and many have decided that growing their own food would be a great way to do that.  I agree, I haven’t bought a tomato product in years.  But if your new to vegetable gardening please proceed with caution.

One local gardening expert was on the news saying anyone could grow their own vegetables with an investment of $30 or less.  I think the money estimate may be kind of low. 

And besides money you need to consider time.  Watering, mulching, weeding, pruning, staking and even harvesting, it all takes time.  I love doing it but my husband considers it a form of punishment.  He helps with fence building and greenhouse building and then heads inside and waits to eat the fresh produce.

In order for the garden to be sustainable through the winter you need to plant a lot, and know how to store it.  Last year I had about 12 tomato plants for 2 people.  That’s a lot of tomatoes,  and they’d rot if I didn’t preserve them.  My favorite way of persevering is drying.  I dried pounds of tomatoes and zucchini which I then froze in single serving.  Their great in all sorts of dishes.

Trust me, I want everyone that has a yard, patio or window sill to grow a garden.  But I also realize that as fun as I think my growing gardens are, they aren’t every ones idea of fun.  I also want all these new gardeners to keep gardening for years to come. 

So plant your seed, but realize the true cost pay off may be a couple years down the road.

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Seed Planting Time March 4, 2009

Posted by liajo in garden thoughts and ideas.
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seedlingsThis week I’ll start planting seeds.  The first round will be in seed starter packs in the house.  No matter how warm it’s been I’d be crazy to plant seed for tomatoes and peppers outside, even in the greenhouse.

I’ll use a mini greenhouse in the sun room to get the first seeds started.  The tomatoes will later be transplanted in the big greenhouse in backyard.  They did really good there last year.  The peppers will go into the regular vegetable garden.  They did not do good at all in the greenhouse and I don’t plan on making the mistake of putting them there again.

In about two or three weeks it will be time to plant the peas directly in garden.  Look for updates to follow, this is an exciting time of year for every gardener.

Dried Tomatoes December 3, 2008

Posted by liajo in comfort food.
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sun-dried-tomatoesI had a bumper crop of tomatoes this year.  More than anyone could eat fresh, so I dried a lot of them to use this winter.  Last Sunday was the first time I used any.  We just finished eating fresh tomatoes mid November.

Along with drying them I also froze them in single serve baggies, just an added step to ensure the don’t go bad before we can use them.  While the rest of the casserole was coming together I added warm water right in baggie and let the tomatoes sit for a few minutes.  When the time came to add them I added the water and all.

Now this is the cool part, my 23 year daughter doesn’t like tomatoes.  She never has.  She has always picked them out of everything.  But not this time.  As she was eating she said if these are tomatoes they aren’t to bad.  I told her they were tomatoes that been dried.  Again she said, not bad and kept eating.

I don’t know if the drying process changed the flavor just enough or maybe the texture.  I really don’t care.  I’m just really happy she’ll eat a tomato.