The End Is Near, Tomato Canning 101

Hey gang….every year I kind of neglect folks asking about how to keep Tomatoes…..well long term anyways. I’ve talked about bringing Green Tomatoes in and how to ripen them but I’ve kinda left canning on the side….well no longer! I found a video that pretty well covers the A to Z of canning tomatoes. It’s a little crude in that the folks that made the video were REALLY down home types, but they cover everything necessary to can Tomatoes successfully.

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Don’t Confuse Your Tomatoes…..

TomatoKissI’ve had a lot of folks inquiring about watering lately…not sure why this year has spawned so many inquiries but we’re here to serve, not water, but information ☺
Watering has a lot to do with the weather obviously, but there are general guidelines that apply without regard to the current state of affairs as far as our climatalogical conditions dictate.
The National Gardening Association offers the following advice and I concur with their recommendations…….

  • Water thoroughly to encourage the tomato roots to seek water and nutrients deep in the soil. With an extensive, deep root system, the plants will hold up better during dry spells. When watering, soak the soil to a depth of at least six to eight inches.
  • Water only when your plants need it. Tomatoes like moisture, but over watering is harmful. You not only waste water, but soggy soil will prevent the roots from getting the air they need. If your plants look a little wilted on a hot, summer afternoon, that’s usually normal. They’ll perk up overnight. If plants are wilted in the morning, don’t wait — water them! (Certain diseases can also cause wilting.) A thorough soaking every four to five days on light, sandy soils and every seven to ten days on heavy soils is a good general guide for irrigating if you don’t get enough rain.
  • Water early in the day to cut down on evaporation losses and also to give your plants plenty of time to dry out. Wet foliage overnight may help trigger some diseases. With furrow irrigation, drip irrigation or soaker hoses, which all deliver water right at the soil surface and not on the leaves, you can water almost anytime. Try to avoid watering at midday though, because that’s when evaporation losses are highest.
  • Use a good mulch to help retain moisture in the soil. Mulches reduce the fluctuation of soil moisture and that helps the crop enormously. But, remember, don’t apply mulch until after the transplants have been going for five to six weeks.

So there you have it direct from the ultimate authority….☺

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Growing Tomatoes Requires Water!!

No, No, No…..Not the way you think! I mean we don’t need water for growth reasons, we need water for “Protection” reasons!! Have you ever gone out to the Garden and seen a Tomato with an open wound….to high off the ground to be a ground critter, but opened up just the same?!

fire_hydrant_800_clr_8582OK! Here’s the answer to the mystery and perhaps the answer to a whole lot more than just a mystery! I discovered this more by accident than use of my intellect….and anyone that knows me would have already figured this out! ☺
You know who cause that gaping wound? A Bird! Yes a bird, and do you know why that bird would mess with your pearls of the garden? Simple, it was thirsty! Yes my friends birds get thirsty too! So they open up a Tomato to have a little sip of moisture.
So what impact does this little revelation have on your gardening efforts? Plenty, if your paying attention. Aside from helping out the birds with their thirst there are TONS of reasons why we would want to provide a nice water source to attract birds to our plot of Tomatoes. Want to make sure your Tomato plants don’t have the dreaded “Tomato Horned Worm”? Want to make sure aphids and thrips don’t flourish? Care to have a generally healthy garden, all Tomatoes aside? Well then, you want a flourishing population of birds! Birds LOVE caterpillars, they love most of those pesky little nuisances that populate the underside of leaves, and they look for ground insects that generally don’t add to the growth of our beloved Tomatoes, as well as other vegetables in the garden! So let’s put a bird bath or some other source of water containment in the garden and attract as many birds as we can! The dividends paid are huge and actually we’re providing a much needed service to our feathered friends. So get out there and invite the birds into the garden. You’ll see less nuisances and more healthy Tomatoes for your efforts!

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What To Do With Extra Tomatoes!

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Have you ever had a Tomato fall off of a vine?…or how about finding a gnawed Tomato near the ground!
You may not want to throw them away….Watch this video

So now you know….You can extend your season from a broken Tomato!

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Tomatoes Are Playing A Role In Tomorrow

tomato 4.26.16The University of California has a machine it calls the Robovator! This device on the back of the tractor is being used in the West side of the San Joaquin Valley in a Tomato Farm. I know…..I can hear it now…..Jack’s done it again, another piece of useless trivia! Well, not so fast my garden buddies! Let me give you the facts behind the “Robovator”. Traditionally, these big farms go out and hire a ton of laborers to “Cultivate” the rows of Tomatoes and get rid of any weeds or other unwelcome visitors. Now, take another look at the picture. Do you see how far the fields run? How long do you think it would take to walk a row and cultivate and fertilize it? Well here’s the good news. That tractor is cultivating at 5 MPH and laying down precise amounts of fertilizer simultaneously with ZERO harm to the Tomato Plants. If we compare this method to manual labor we can see a massive difference in the two. The benefits going down the road are huge. Not only that, but this is just being tested on Tomatoes. How about String beans, cabbage, broccoli, and an entire host of other vegetables and flowers. On a political note, imagine the impact this will have on the border. A large number of illegals are not going to be coming into America if there’s no work for them! All in all, I see a bright future going forward.

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10 Great Reasons To Eat Tomatoes!!

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1. Keeps skin healthy
Tomatoes are high in lycopene. The lycopene and antioxidants helps protect the skin from UV light damage while keeping signs of aging at bay.

2. Builds strong bones
Tomatoes have high levels of calcium and vitamin K which are both good for repairing and strengthening bones. Lycopene has been shown to improve bone mass which makes it a good food for fighting osteoporosis.

3. Prevents cancer
A number of studies have been done now finding that tomatoes with their high levels of lycopene reduces the chances of getting different cancers such as breast cancer, lung cancer, prostate and stomach cancers. Lycopene is a natural antioxidant that works to slow the rate of growth of cancerous cells. Cancer occurs when there is oxidative stress and inflammation. Tomatoes proved the body with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory support.

4. Promotes Sleep
Adding tomatoes to your diet should not only help you sleep better, Getting better sleep will also improve all areas of your life.

5. Improves vision
Tomatoes are high in vitamin A which is also important for good vision.

6. Weight loss
They are low in calories, dense with nutrients and high in energy. They are high in water content so they help curb your appetite. Tomatoes also helps with constipation with their high fiber and water content.

7. Prostate protector
Studies have shown that prostate tumors grew much more slowly in rats that were fed tomatoes.

8. Lowers blood sugar levels
Tomatoes are good for hearth health. They are effective and reducing cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure with their high levels of vitamin B, folate, niacin and potassium. Including tomatoes in the diet lowers the risk of heart attacks and other heart problems.

9. Reduces damage from smoking
Tomatoes can reduce the damage caused by smoking. Tomatoes contain coumaric acid and chlorogenic acid that work to protect the body from carcinogens that are produced from cigarette smoke.

10. Keeps immune system strong
Tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C which helps to boost the immune system.

So there you have it…..the top 10 reasons to keep growing and enjoying Tomatoes. There is one more important reason to grow Tomatoes. It gets you outdoors and into nature! There’s a lot of healthy benefits to being outdoors just with regards to your mental state of being……so get out there and cultivate some health! ☺

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Tomatoes Never Lose Their Popularity!!

As a result I think from here going forward we’re going to take a new direction with the Tomato 411 Blog. Rather than continuing with our efforts to give the why’s and wherefor’s of planting Tomatoes we’re going to become more informational with current happenings in the world of Tomatoes. As you look around the site you’ll find a wealth of the basics for planting, supporting, fertilizing, preventing disease, and harvesting and storing Tomatoes. You’ll find information on Tomato Varieties, Seed Merchants, and Diseases and problems concerning Tomatoes. If you use the search function on the site you’ll be able to get to any of the information you need quickly by just typing in a few keywords. Now don’t get nervous, I’m not going to abandon the original purpose of this site, I’m just going to emphasize current Tomato events versus the how’s and why’s of Tomato planting to a greater degree. Naturally I’ll keep all the information here up to date so you’ll never have to worry about stale information.

All of that being said we’ll begin with our journey through the world of Tomatoes and their current impact on our world and palettes ☺

Below you can see a chart revealing the vitamin, mineral, and elemental content of a cup of Tomatoes. I’m always amazed at the amount of content in the ever popular Tomato!
Recently I wrote a Blog entry on the genes found in a Tomato…..damn near rivaling the genes in a human numerically. That, coupled with the nutritional value of a Tomato, makes on helluva healthy fruit/vegetable!!

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So you folks can look forward to more and more informational content with an emphasis towards up to date and current content. We’ll vary the topics vastly so as to keep your attention and interest going forward. We’ll throw in some of the modern goods that are out there that make your gardening life more efficient and or easier.

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Heirloom and Heirlooms, Classic Toamtoes

Does anyone out there know what we call this Tomato? Yeah, me neitherChocolate_Stripe. Just Kidding, actually it’s an Heirloom Tomato….a Chocolate Stripes heirloom! We’ll be picking seeds and types of tomatoes for our gardens this year and I wanted to remind you folks about the “Heirloom” Tomato. Heirlooms are a little less tolerant of certain diseases and some of the criters out there but on the whole they are not as bad as some folks say. I’ve grown Heirlooms for years and they do just fine for me. So, without further ado, I’ll give you a list of Heirlooms you might want to look into.

Black Cherry (purple/black)
Brandywine, Sudduth Strain (pink beefsteak)
Chocolate Stripes (red/green striped) (Pictured at left)
Blondkopfchen (yellow cherry)
Black Krim (purple/black beefsteak)
Brandywine, OTV (red beefsteak)….My Favorite!
Amana Orange (orange beefsteak)
Azoychka (yellow/orange beefsteak)
Delicious (red beefsteak)
Dixie Golden Giant (yellow /orange beefsteak)

So now you have some Tomatoes to look at if you’ve ever thought of try your hand at some Heirlooms…..Good Luck!
 

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Hey! Happy New Years and Happy Tomatoes

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!year_crush_year_400_wht_17759

Well here we are….the days are getting longer day by day…..all the Holidays are out of the way and a little R&R is in order! So give yourself a break and relax for a little….and while you’re sitting back you might want to let your mind wander to those great yields of Tomatoes you’ll be enjoying just a few months down the road. One of the best ways to get a great yield and really enjoy your Tomato harvest is to do a bit of planning. I like to use plain old graph paper and let the divisions represent square feet. If you allow a three foot circle to represent your Tomato plants you’ll be off to a good start. You might want to get adventurous and think about using large flower pots as home for some plants…..Cherry Tomatoes do great in planters and they are always handy because of their ease of placement. Determinate (Grow only to a certain size)  Tomatoes do well in containers as well. After you’ve done a little planning you can then move on to what varieties of Tomatoes you want to grow.
Burpee’s new Seed Catalog features a new Tomato Hybrid from France…The Madame Marmande see the picture…
MadameMarmande
They sure look good ☺
I mention this because there are over a 100 new varieties of Tomatoes coming out this year. So if you haven’t ordered any any Tomato Catalogs now would be an excellent time to do so!
The Madame Marmande is actually an European Heirloom Tomato that has had some cross breeding done to yield the Hybrid Tomato of the picture.
Yes Tomato devotees, the year 2016 is shaping up to be  great year for growing our Tomatoes!

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Hey Christmas Is On The Way…How About Tomato 411?

411_bookcoverYes fans this is an unabashed commercial this month promoting the 100 plus pages packed with useful information for the novice Tomato grower! I do this not to promote the book so much as to give you folks the opportunity to cross someone off your Christmas gift list with a gift that will be giving long after the Christmas Season is over!
Chapter 1…….A Little Background
A bit of history on America’s favorite vegetable
Chapter 2……Varieties: Which One’s Are For You
A look at the various varieties of tomatoes
Chapter 3……Growing Healthy Tomatoes
From seed to harvest and everything in between
Chapter 4……Fertilizing And Maintenance
Side dressing to Sun scald and Cracking it’s all in this chapter
Chapter 5…….Harvesting Your Crop
ABC’s of getting the most out of your harvest and even Green Tomatoes
Chapter 6…….Diseases and Pests
The Title says it all!
Chapter 7…….Growing Organically
Once again the title tells the story!

The book along with this website will give you all the insight you need to make a great Tomato Farmer in your neck of the woods. I might add there are NO pictures in the book to inflate the size of the contents. I originally conceived the idea of the book along with a companion website as the best way to deliver content and I think it was a good choice…..and all of you have proven me right I believe. Have a Very Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays, your choice. See You in the New Year upcoming ☺

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