Yielding An Abundant Tomato Crop With These Gardening Tips

tomato cluster ripening on vine - Yielding An Abundant Tomato Crop With These Gardening Tips If you want to grow the healthiest and most delicious tomatoes you possibly can this gardening season, take some pointers from the pros. There are a few very easy ways to implement, and therefore consistently grow a rich harvest of tasty, lush, mouthwatering tomatoes.

Why not try out the following organic gardening tips and see for yourself the biggest and healthiest yield your tomato plants can give you.

Organic Gardening Tips For Growing Succulent Tomatoes

Tip #1

Whether growing in containers or in the ground, make sure you select a location that will give your plants 6 to 8 hours of natural sunlight.  Also, make sure you have enough room between your tomato plants to not only provide for adequate air circulation, but it also assures adequate room for the plants to grow not only upwards, but for extending their stems.

Tip #2

illistration of transplanting a tomato plant

Illustration by Hyperion Yard

If you are buying plants to transplant, make sure you plant deep for the best possible results.

Burying the stem of a tomato allows the plant to sprout new roots which will help improve strength and vitality of the plant.

This also provides better absorption of the nutrients your tomato plants need to grow faster and healthier.

To do this, remove the bottom sets of leaves and bury the stem up to just below the bottom of the remaining leaves.

Experimenting with the above description for transplanting tomato plants to the first true leaf, when compared to just covering the root ball has shown to increase tomato yields by 18% and up to 26% percent for every 25 pounds of fruit at first harvest, according to Dr. Charles Vavrina at the Southwest Florida Research & Education Center.

Rodale’s Organic Life writes, that the secret to great tomatoes is all in the roots. Plants with big root systems need less water and can stand up to summer storms.

To encourage your tomatoes to put down robust roots, start by taking a look at the stems of your tomato seedlings. The fine “hairs” lining the stem develop into roots when they come into contact with moist soil. Burying a large portion of the stem at planting time effectively doubles the size of the plant’s root system and encourages productive plants.

Tip #3

This tip is crucial to planting, growing, and harvesting an abundant of tomatoes. Test your soil. Why? Tomatoes grow and produce well in soil that is more acidic, between 6.0 – 6.8 pH.

You can take a sample of your soil to the horticultural department of your local collage or University for lab testing, or you purchase a pH level testing kit.

After you have discerned your garden soils alkaline and acidity levels, you can add the appropriate organic soil amendments to reach the recommended 6.0 – 6.8 pH for tomatoes. Most garden centers can tell you just what you need to do to get your soil perfect.

Tip #4

prunning tomato suckers for better fruit

Image credit: Fine Gardening

 

Trick your tomatoes into being stronger by plucking the first flowers that appear. This allows your tomato plants to grow more extensive root systems, as well as a mature and developed leaf canopy, before any fruit is produced.

You should also prune any suckers, which are the little offshoots of the main stem below your first fruit-producing branch.

Fine Gardening says that doing so will allow most of the sugar produced in the first 30 days after transplanting, to be directed to the developing fruit, since the only competition is a single growing tip.

Tip #5

Use tomato cages or supports to grow your tomatoes vertically. When you allow tomato vines to lay on the ground, your plants are much more susceptible to pests and diseases.

When you provide vertical support, these garden dangers have a harder time attacking your plants. Sprawling vines also take up valuable space in your garden.

Tip #6

Organic fertilizer for tomatoesSouthwest Gardener says to fertilize your tomato plants once a month for in-ground tomatoes, and every three weeks for tomatoes in containers.

Adding organic compost, either your own or store bought will also help to encourage healthy growth and a bigger harvest.

Scratch compost into the ground around the stem, and at the same time, trim a few of the upper leaves on each plant.

Tip #7

Whether you decide to plant determinate or indeterminate varieties, consider planting new tomatoes three weeks after your original plants are planted. This will extend your growing season and guarantees that if you run into any weather or pest problems, you are still sure to enjoy multiple, healthy harvests. This means you won’t need to harvest and use your entire crop at once.

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The Difference Between Stock and Broth

collage of broths and stocks - The Difference Between Stock and Broth What is the difference between broth and stock? It seems like they would virtually be the same thing as they both are a liquid, but there are slight differences. What is the difference? Basically, the difference is in how they are both made or prepared.

Stock is made from the bones and connective tissue of meat, and including vegetables. Though they are removed after the stock is cook, and use in another meal, and the stock is used as a base for soups among other things. Usally a chicken stock is administered when an individual has a cold or flu.

While broth is the cooked liquid with meat and vegetables left in and enjoyed together.

There is a  slight differences between the two, though they could be similar or the same.

What Is Needed to Make a Stock

The following is instructions to make a stock using vegetables along with either beef shanks, or chicken, including wings, back, neck, ribs, and giblets (except the liver). Most stocks are vegetable base only, and meat bones without the meat (in the case of chicken, it would be the leg bones without meat).

vegetable and - or meat stockIdeally for a stock using bones, you want to use bones that are cleaned of all of the meat. This can be hard to achieve in your own home kitchen.

However, you could buy some meat bones (usually beef bones only are found) at your local butcher who has cleaned the bones of all the meat.

To make a stock using beef, first arrange the beef shanks in a single layer in a non greased large shallow roasting pan.

Roast, uncovered, for 45 minutes or until nicely browned. Transfer the shanks and ribs to a stockpot.

Pour off all the fat from the roasting pan, then add 2 cups of  water to the pan and swirl it around, scraping any browned bits of meat or juices. Now add to the stockpot along with the remaining water.

Bring the water to a boil, uncovered, over high heat, skimming off any scum.

Next add the onions, carrots, tomato, garlic cloves, bay leaves, parsley, thyme, and salt. Partially cover and simmer for 3 – 4 hours, occasionally skimming off the scum.

Remove meat and vegetables, set aside. Pour the pot of liquid through a large colander or sieve, setting over a very large heatproof bowl.

Let the stock cool, pour into jars and cover with lid. Put into refrigerate overnight. The next day, discard the fat that has solidified on top. Use your stock within 3 to 4 days.

You could also ladle the cooled stock into ice cube trays, then freeze. Once frozen, place stock cubes in freezer bags or containers for future use.

Do the same above if using chicken, though you do not roast the chicken in the oven. Instead, add the chicken parts to a large stockpot. Add the water and bring to a boil, uncovered over high heat, skimming off any scum.

Next add the remaining ingredients, and simmer for 3 hours. Also at this point, you can add fresh herbs if you would like, but this is optional and not at all necessary for making a good stock, as you don’t want to dilute the flavors of the carcass.

Next, do the same with the cooked stock, chicken parts and vegetables, as the same with the beef stock, just before straining.

hearty brothWhat Is Needed to Make a Broth

Here’s how to make a broth using beef or chicken.

Heat some cooking oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add vegetables like garlic, onions, celery, and carrots. Cook the vegetables until softened.

Add 8 cups of water, with bay leaves, parsley, and thyme. Reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered, for 45 minutes, or until meat is cook through.

When broth is cooked, you can go a step further for a more hearty broth by adding some cooked rice, noodles or legumes.

When to Use Your Stock Or Broth

The difference between stock and broth, is a stock is the liquid produced by simmering raw ingredients, with the removal of the solids (meat and vegetables), leaving a highly flavored liquid. You can also chose to make a broth without meat.

broth with vegetables and pasta The stock can be used as a base for many things like soup, gravies, and sauces among others.

Were as broth is a basic soup, where the solid pieces, the meat and vegetables, remain. A broth is often made more substantial by adding rice, barley, legumes, and even pasta. You can also make a broth without meat.

As you can see, there is a difference between stock and broth, though the way in how they are made are very slightly similar.

Here are some great soup recipes to try from the archives of Splendid Recipes and More

Red Kale Cannellini Beans and Chorizo Soup

Chicken Curry Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Sausage and Tortellini Soup

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Red Kale Cannellini Beans and Chorizo Soup

Red Kale Cannellini Beans and Chorizo

When the suns behind the winter clouds and not able to warm your skin, the next best thing is Red Kale Cannellini Beans and Chorizo Soup.

The cannellini beans or white beans are also known as white Italian kidney beans. The skin of the white kidney beans are much thinner and more delicate than their red cousins. White beans also have a smooth, but slightly nutty tasting interior.

Concerned about your daily fiber in take? A half cup serving of cooked cannellini beans are a excellent source of dietary fiber, providing you with 7 grams of your 30 grams of fiber needed daily for good health.

Here is what you will need for this simple and nutritious Red Kale Cannellini Beans and Chorizo Soup.

Our ingredients are all organic grown and harvested and pasture fed meat.

red kale2 tablespoons avocado oil

12 ounces pork chorizo sausage, 1-inch slices

1 medium red onion, diced

3 gloves garlic, minced

1 medium purple carrot, diced

1 rib celery, diced

4 cups chicken stock

2 15 ounce cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1 teaspoon Himalayan salt optional

4 cups red kale, stemmed and leaves torn

spooning from the sauce pot - Red Kale Cannellini Beans and ChorizoOver medium heat, add oil to a large sauce pot. Once heated add meat and brown. Next add onions, and garlic. Stir until garlic and onion is just browned about 1 minute.

Next add diced carrots and celery, and stir until you see the vegetables brighten in color, about 2 minutes. Next add chicken broth, beans and salt.

a large sauce pot of Red Kale Cannellini Beans and ChorizoBring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer, and add kale, then stir in. Place lid on pot, and on simmer let soup cook another 5 minutes.

Red Kale Cannellini Beans and Chorizo - close upTo thicken the soup a little, as we did not use potatoes (their starch content will thicken soups), you can add some arrowroot starch. In a small glass add 1 tablespoon of starch and stir in a teaspoon of fresh water, and add when soup is boiling. When soup has thickened some, lower heat to a simmer. Add kale and stir in, then place lid on soup pot and let cook another 5 minutes.

Red Kale Cannellini Beans and Chorizo

According to Mangia Bene Pasta, the Cannellini beans are difficult to harvest when ripe and therefore are harvested in the fall when the pod is completely dry.  As a result, the beans are rarely eaten fresh.

In some parts of Italy, the beans are a popular accompaniment to tuna and pasta dishes containing poultry. In the United States, vegetarians often utilize the hearty beans as a fish or chicken substitute, due to its protein source (WiseGeek).

The dried beans double in size when soaked, so a few beans go a long way in a dish.  Cannellini beans are available in supermarkets in both dried and canned form. If cannellini beans are unavailable, great northern beans or navy beans can be used, though they are a much smaller bean.

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Gluten Free Penne with Smoked Bacon and Butternut Squash

Gluten Free Penne with Roasted Butternut Squash and Smoked Bacon

Butternut squash and also refereed to butternut pumpkin in Australia and New Zealand, is a winter squash. It has a sweet, nutty taste similar to pumpkin.

Butternut_squash

The value of the nutrient content increases when cooked

According to Specialty Produce the butternut squash was developed in Stow, Massachusetts in 1940 by Charles A. Leggette.

The squash is a member of the gourd family and is the most widely grown winter squash. In the United States, Florida is the largest squash-producer with California ranking second.

Butternut is rich in fiber, and low in calories. It also is a good source of minerals, including magnesium and potassium. Those who have asthma or breathing problems, this squash can help, because of its magnesium, and vitamins A and C content.

Medical studies since 1994 have reported that low magnesium intake is linked to asthma and chronic obstructive airways. Many studies also have noted that drugs used in the treatment of asthma causes loss of magnesium in the body (The Link Between An Asthma Attack and Magnesium).

Dr. Carolyn Dean, MD, who authored the book, “The Magnesium Miracle,” states that magnesium has a calming effect on the muscles of the bronchial airways, as well as the whole body (Treating Asthma With Nutrition).

Let’s breath easier, and get that all over calming effect as we present our featured recipe: Gluten Free Penne with Smoked Bacon and Butternut Squash, and here is what you will need.

1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into 1-inch pieces, cooked in a steamer (optional to roast)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 pound gluten-free penne pasta

1 large yellow onion, diced

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper corns

1/2 pound smoked bacon, cooked, but not crispy, your preference in flavor, we used a apple-bourbon smoked bacon

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Cook pasta according to package instruction. Save one cup of the pasta water before draining pasta. Set aside.

sauteing onions Over medium heat in a large ceramic coated frying pain, add oil and diced onion, red pepper flakes and crushed pepper corns, and saute until onion are slightly browned, about 6 to 7 minutes.

adding squash and pastaNext add past, squash, and bacon. Mix until well incorporated. Next add cheese, and slowly add the reserved pasta water. The amount you add determines if you want the dish creamy or not.

Gluten Free Penne with Roasted Butternut Squash and Smoked BaconPlate and serve.

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Kick Off the 2015 Supper Bowl with Beer Cheese Soup

Beer Cheese Soup

February first (1st) is Supper bowl day, and according to a poll we found on line from 2010, 7 in 10 American adults, about 68 percent, watch the Super Bowl.  Others polls state that most men watch the Supper Bowl for the commercials, which are later talked about on the social net-works they subscribe too.

Most men also love their cheese as well. Why look at all of the food items containing cheese that they sink their taste buds into:  Chili and Cheese, Ham and Grilled Cheese Sandwich, Philly Cheese Sandwich, Pizza with Extra Cheese, Chili Fries with Cheese, and the list goes on.

Because the Supper Bowl always is played on a Sunday, most homes will have a brunch prepared. Here at Splendid Recipes and More we have an item to add to the brunch list, and it contains cheese and a man’s favorite beverage, will most men, BEER!! Yes – Beer Cheese Soup.

Here is what you will need ( soup recipe adapted from Soup Recipes for Men):

Beer Cheese Soup 

1/3 Cup Butter

1/3 Cup Flour

1 ½ Cups Carrots, finely diced

1 ½ Cups Onion, finely diced

1 ½ Cups Celery, finely diced

2 Cloves Garlic, minced

Tabasco

Kosher Salt

Fresh Cracked Pepper

2 Cups Beer

3 Cups Chicken Broth

4 Cups Whole Milk

6 Cups Sharp Wisconsin Cheddar Cheese, grated

1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard

1 Teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce

Chives (garnish)

Crumbled Bacon (garnish)

Melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add flour and whisk constantly for 4 – 5 minutes to create a light roux, about the color of a dull penny. Next, add carrots, onion, and celery; sauté until tender, about 7 – 9 minutes. Add garlic, a few dashes of Tabasco, and season with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper. Slowly add the beer and chicken broth, stir and bring mixture to a slow boil. Add milk, and return to a slow simmer, stirring often. Reduce heat to low; fold in the cheese, mustard, and Worcestershire. Stir until all of the cheese is completely melted – soup should be rich and creamy. Ladle into a bowl and serve.

Link here for some more favorite Supper Bowl Day recipes: Enjoy the Supper Bowl with Splendid Recipes.

 

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Food Parts That Are Still Surprisingly Useful

Food Parts That Are Still Surprisingly Useful

Don’t toss the food scrapes just yet! You can still use them to make or prepare something you may never given any thought too.

Watermelon Rinds

Watermelon rind has nutritional benefits. It contain vitamin-C and vitamin B-6, both great for skin, immunity, and the nervous system. Here’s something that maybe a surprise to you the rinds may help your sex life. A 2008 study at Texas A&M University research reported that watermelon rinds have high concentrations of a compound called citrulline, which the body converts into an amino acid that helps improve circulation and relax blood vessels.

After cutting up a watermelon save those rinds and blend them into a fruit smoothie, or try using them in a stir-fry. The rinds when cooked have a zucchini-like texture, with a slightly sweeter flavor.

Banana Peels

A 2013 study found that around 40 million tons of banana peels are thrown in the trash and go unused worldwide. Did you know you can use the peels to heal wounds, just rub the pulp side on bruises and scrapes to deliver potassium to heal the wound.  Soak the peels in a jar of water, for a few days, then mix five parts water to one part banana-water, and fertilize your potted plants .

The Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology (2011) wrote that banana peels contain carotenoids and polyphenols, which are thought to help prevent diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

Wash the peel in water then blend into a fruit smoothie. India boasts a dry vegetable curry using chopped banana peels boiled with turmeric powder and salt, then mixed with other ingredients, such as mustard seeds, green chilies, and cabbage.

Sweet Potato Peelings

After peeling a sweet potato, use the peels help lighten those persistent dark circles under the eyes. Even some have used the peels as a remedy to fad away freckles and age spots o the skin. It’s the enzyme called catecholase in the potatoes that give the peelings of the sweet potato this ability.

Stale Bread

Stale bread has always been used to make crumbs or croutons But did you can know you can run stale bread through your spice or coffee grinders to remove any leftover odors or residue?

If you have smudges or marks on the walls, including crayon marks, stale bread can help. First remove the crust, then wipe the marks or smudges with a soft cloth, then rub semi-stale bread against it. The sponge like texture will work like a store bought cleaning eraser.

Onion Skin‘s

The wrapping around onions is rich in the nutrient quercetin, a plant pigment that helps to prevent your arteries from clogging, and helping with lowering blood sugar, and reducing inflammation.

A 2011 study reported that in the European Union alone, around 500,000 tons of onion skins go to waist each year. Though the onion skin is not palatable, you can reap the health benefits by tossing the onion skins into beef, chicken or vegetable broth while cooking soups and stews. The out come will be a rich, flavorful soup. Don’t for get to remove the skin before serving.

Olive Oil

Do you have a bottle of olive oil that has lost its fragrant taste? Will don’t toss it. There are still ways to use it.

Do you have a pair of paints that has a zipper that just won’t budge? Dab some oilve oil on the teeth of the zipper to make it zip again. You can even use it to wipe off eye makeup. Surprised? Just try it and see for yourself.

Other uses include rubbing into the leaves of potted plants to make them shine and look healthier, or even use to polish your leather shoes.

Swiss Chard Stalks

Those of us that use Swiss chard, always toss the stalks, but wait, German researchers reported that the stalks contain glutamine an amino acid , which boosts the immune system, and can also aid the body to recover from surgery and heal wounds.

Cut the stalks into one-inch cubes, roast for about 20 minutes, and season with lemon juice, chopped garlic, salt, and pepper. Add a whole Swiss chard (stalks included) to the blender for a powerful boost to your green juice or smoothie.

If none of the for gone ideas sound appealing to you, you can toss those scrapes into a mulch bend to add to the soil in your garden. Even if you don’t garden, give your scrapes off to a friend who does, or to your local community garden.

 

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Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup

This soup is quick to prepare, very flavorful, and fills the tummy! It’s served with warm toasted yellow corn tortillas. Mexican Tortilla Soup is spicy and will warm you on a cold winter day or any time of the year.

This is a basic chicken soup dish, but taken to the next level here at Splendid Recipes and More. Just go light on the jalapenos, making sure to remove the seeds and ribs, and mince them very fine.

Jalapeño peppers have capsaicin, which is a great compound for making a healthy body.  Of the many health benefits the peppers provide, we thought you would enjoy this one: Studies have shown that jalapeños can provide pain relief for migraine headaches. The compound found in the peppers, capsaicin which is what makes the peppers hot, is known to inhibit a key neuropeptide, Substance P, which is the key brain pain transmitter.

Just mince the pepper with the ribs, excluding the seeds and eat down. Your palate will catch fire, so have a swig of milk to put it out.

Other benefits of the peppers include congestion relief, cardiovascular benefits, weight-loss, cancer prevention, and acts as an anti-inflammatory.

Here is what you will need:

Ingredients for - Chicken Tortilla Soup

2 medium yellow onions, chopped

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 jalapeños, seeded and de-vained (ribs removed for less heat), and minced

1 28-ounce can whole, peeled tomatoes, cut into chunks

3 tablespoons tomato paste

4 cups chicken stock

1/2 teaspoon Himalayan salt

1 teaspoon ground cumin

2-3 tablespoons avocado oil

8 yellow corn tortilla, cut into strips 1/8 inch wide

1 1/2 cups shredded, cooked chicken breast ( you can also use breast meat of a rotisserie cooked chicken).

First prepare the tortilla strips. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Toss the strips in a large bowl with oil, salt and pepper to taste. Grease a rimmed baking sheet with unsalted butter, or use a line of parchment paper, and spread the strips of yellow corn tortillas on the sheet.

Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake until browned and crisp, about 10 minutes. Shake the pan once after 5 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

saute the onions for - Chicken Tortilla SoupIn a large saucepan, saute the onions in oil over medium-high heat until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute until you can smell the aroma of garlic, about 2 minutes.

add tomato, broth, and chillies - Chicken Tortilla SoupNext add the peppers, tomatoes, tomato paste, chicken broth, salt, and cumin. Add some black pepper to taste if you wish.

Simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 15 minutes.

Chicken Tortilla Soup (2)Serve by ladling the soup into bowls, and topping a half of cup of the shredded cooked chicken and a handful of tortilla strips. Serve and enjoy!!

 

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