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Heirloom tomatoes

Basket of a range of heirloom tomatoes

This category covers a wide range of topics focused around the benefits you will see when you learn to grow your own food. Benefits like self-sufficiency, health, cost savings, flavor, and fun!!

Explore this category for:

detailed how-to’s on planting, growing and harvesting;
distinguishing the flavors and colors of different vegetable varieties;
freezing, drying and cooking with your homegrown produce.

Growing Vegetables:

No garden?  Even urban dwellers can grow tasty tomatoes and many vegetables if they have access to a community garden or a large pot that will fit on a patio or balcony.

If you can’t grow your own produce, knowing the differences in taste, color and use of the huge range of specific vegetable varieties is helpful when making decisions at the farmers’ markets or grocery store.

Re: Tomatoes:

Gardeners, foodies and cooks all crave the tender, rich, juicy tomatoes that their grandparents grew.  Heirloom varieties offer that taste memory, and it is the holy grail to grow your own.

Hybrid tomatoes are perhaps “easier” to grow as they are bred to be smooth, round, red orbs with no cracks or green shoulders, etc. If your goal is high yields, or longer storage and no unsightly attributes, then a hybrid variety might be for you. While they typically don’t have the old-fashioned taste qualities, there are some that are quite good.

This category covers the bases of growing, cooking and selecting the best plant for the intended use.

** Note: To help with self-sufficiency during the 2020 period of quarantines (and beyond), check out our facebook group where we share all things cooking and gardening that will help you grow your own food. Search facebook for this group. It is called “Growing (and Cooking) Your Own Food”.

Starting Tomato & Peppers Indoors – LED vs Fluorescent Lights

There are very scientific, detailed studies available regarding indoor seed starting with LED lights. This post is a summary of my experience using both LED and fluorescent lights as grow lights for starting tomato and pepper seeds indoors.  5 Tips to Consider when Comparing LED Shoplights to Fluorescent Shoplights  I am going to summarize the …

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Preserving Fresh Herbs as Herbal Compound Butters

Dried herbs can’t compete with fresh herbs when it comes to cooking with flavor. If you have a garden, a nearby farmers market, or a good grocery store, preserving fresh herbs as herbal compound butters is my favorite way to ensure fresh flavor year-round. It’s very easy, you can create wonderful blends, and they’ll last …

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Salt & Vinegar Cucumber Chips – Baked or Dehydrated

You can make these chips in a dehydrator or in your oven set at low. They are a truly easy low carb snack which satisfies the cravings for those salty, crunchy high-carb chip options! By Dorothy Stainbrook, with video by Tesla Stainbrook. This post may contain affiliate links. See Disclosure Dehydrator vs Oven-Baked The dehydrator …

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Best Heirloom Tomato Varieties in 2020 (with some hybrids)

Whether you want to use heirloom tomatoes for making a spaghetti sauce, a caprese salad, a tomato tartine or a simple BLT, it is important to choose the right tomato for your intended use. This roundup of heirloom tomatoes will help you decide the best variety to select at a farmers’ market or to grow …

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Unique Qualities of the Best Heirloom Tomato Varieties

This is a summary of the flavor, growth performance and unique qualities of what I consider to be the best heirloom tomato varieties. I have been growing, tasting and testing heirloom tomatoes since 1997 and this guide is based on that cumulative experience. What to Consider Before Buying Your Heirloom Tomatoes Before opening those enticing …

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Supports for Tomato Plants – Cages vs Staking vs Fencing

Many people who are new to  growing heirloom tomatoes in the ground start with a tomato plant, a bag of fertilizer and a tomato “cage” purchased at a garden center.  Many people also come back the next year with sad tales to tell about their experience with the cages. Here are some alternatives to the …

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Heirloom Tomatoes: Pictures of Earliest Varieties

Early Heirloom Tomatoes: When I sell the heirloom tomato plants at the St. Paul Farmers’ market in early spring, customers are always curious about “when” they’ll get their tomatoes.  The answer is definitely one of those, “it depends”  qualifiers.  It depends on which variety you choose, it depends on how big the plant is when …

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