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 Best Tomato Varieties For Your Container Gardening

The Best Tomato Varieties For Your Container Gardening

A great alternative for the tomato gardener with limited garden space is to use buckets, pots or containers to grow tomato plants.

Container gardening offers many advantages, such as growing a few plants in containers is a lot less intimidating to beginning gardeners than trying to plan and care for a large vegetable garden. Without a doubt, it is much easier to care for and maintain a small container garden than a large outdoor area.

Planting your tomatoes in a portable set up allows you to move your tomato plants around so they get the necessary sunlight each day. Though growing tomatoes in the sun is necessary, but the fruit themselves do not need sunlight to ripen, as the tomato actually ripens fastest in the absence of sunlight. Tomatoes ripen because of heat and ethylene gas, not because of sunlight (Gardening Know How).

A word to the wise, not all tomato varieties are perfect for container gardening. To ensure that you receive great tasting tomatoes, and the biggest possible yield, then take a look at these three tomato varieties.

Container Gardening With The Right Tomato Plants

Japanese Black Trifele

Japanese Black Trifele TomatoAlthough the Japanese Black Trifele is considered a great container tomato, be advised that it can be found in both indeterminate and determinate varieties.

Before buying a particular plant, you’ll want to make sure the ones you are considering are the more compact variety.

The pear-shaped fruits of the Japanese Black Trifele will develop a deep mahogany color as a sign that it is ripe. This beautiful fruit is as visually appealing as it is delicious. You can expect a sweet and smoky, multi-layered taste.

Rareseeds says the plants produce loads of fruit all summer long, and has been a favorite with many seed savers.

Sungold Cherry Tomato

 Sungold Cherry TomatoThe Sungold cherry tomato is a indeterminate hybrid. These tangerine-orange cherry tomatoes are super sweet and savory.

The plant boasts as a vigorous, disease resistant plant, and as such this cherry tomato plant is very strong and requires very little care.

Also, a single Sungold plant can give you cherry tomatoes all summer long.

Brandywine

Heirloom Organics says that the Brandywine tomato is among the oldest heirloom tomato varieties, and have been grown for well over 100 years. The fruit is a large, slightly sweet, pink, beefsteak tomato that can weigh 1 ½ pounds. It is an indeterminate growing vine plant that can reach 9 feet in height with plenty of light and heat.

This tomato variety consistently wins first place in tomato taste tests not only in the United States, but throughout the world.

Some other great tomatoes to grow in your container garden include the Wapsipinicon Peach, with its delicious and fuzzy fruit or the intriguing Black Krim heirloom variety which yields large purple and red fruits.

The tomatoes we have mentioned here is far from a comprehensive list. With thousands of tomato varieties to choose from, you are sure to find great options for your container gardening.

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Italian Five Cheese Chicken Roll Ups

Italian Five Cheese Chicken Roll UpsWith little more than your favorite spaghetti sauce (we used a sauce made with cream and vodka – from the Whole Foods Market), cream cheese and a shredded Italian cheese blend, you can have yourself some chicken roll-ups. They are super easy to prepare.

Here is what you will need:

2 oz. of cream cheese softened

¼ cup bell pepper; diced (red, yellow, orange, green, use all colors, or your choice – we buy tri-colored frozen bell peppers)

¼ tsp. garlic powder

4 chicken breasts; boneless skinless

1 cup Italian 5-cheese blend, finely shredded

½ teaspoon dried oregano leaves

1 cup spaghetti sauce (your favorite)

salt to taste, optional

Heat oven to 400°

ingredients for Italian Five Cheese Chicken Roll Ups

 

mix ingredients  togetherIn a medium bowl mix cream cheese, ½ cup of cheese, bell pepper, oregano, garlic and salt to taste.

When we salt in our recipes, it is always use Himalayan salt.

After you mix up the ingredients, set aside.

slicing chicken breast and flatting it with a robber mallet

Cut chicken long ways across breast. Place each cut chicken piece one at a time in a large plastic bag, seal it and with a rubber mallet or rolling pin flatten chicken to ¼-inch thicknesses.

preparing chicken roll ups

At one end of chicken strip roll up with cheese mixture, tucking in ends around filling to completely enclose the filling.

Place seam sides down in 13 x 19 inch baking dish coated with olive oil. Pour spaghetti sauce evenly over chicken, and cover with aluminum foil.

chicken roll ups out of the ovenPlace in preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

Remove foil, sprinkle chicken with remaining ½ cup shredded cheese. Bake an additional 3 to 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

 

 

 

Italian Five Cheese Chicken Roll UpsPlate and enjoy your Italian Five Cheese Chicken Roll Ups with a salad or your favorite vegetable.

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Tomato Basil Chicken

Tomato Basil ChickenYou have some chicken breasts and are looking for a new idea to prepare them? Well you have arrived to the right place for a quick and easy recipe. It’s our Tomato Basil Chicken entrée. Besides being healthy with all fresh ingredients that include tomato, basil, and garlic, this recipe is reminiscent of warm weather and luscious Mediterranean summers.

According to Spice Pages by Gernot Katzer, basil is native to India, though it is not used as a culinary herb, but rather is considered sacred and use in religious rites. Besides the most common Mediterranean type basil sold in the Western world, there is also varieties from the Asian world, such as Thailand‘s sweet basil with a licorice flavor, and a lemon basil which has a distinct balm-like flavor. Katzer states there are also verities introduced to European gardeners from Africa as well (Spice Pages: Basil).

Now for our featured recipe: Tomato Basil Chicken, and here is what you will need.

Tomato Basil Chicken - ingredients

1 lb boneless chicken breast (about 2-3 medium sized pieces) with the skin on

1 teaspoon of rock salt, Himalayan or Sea salt, 1/2 teaspoon if salt is ground

½ teaspoon black pepper

2 handfuls of fresh chopped basil, about 1 1/2 cups

1 ½ -2 cups fresh diced tomato

¼ cup olive oil

½ cup grated parmesan cheese

2 cloves of garlic

Fresh chopped ingredients for Tomato Basil ChickenDice the tomatoes, and chop the garlic. Tear the basil apart by hand.

adding salt and pepper to chicken breastNext, season the chicken breasts with the salt and pepper. You may use the ground salt, but the rock salt lends a more rustic appeal to the dish.

adding chicken meat to a preheated pan with olive oilIn a preheated ceramic coated pan over medium-high heat, add olive oil and place the chicken skin side down.

adding garlic and browning the meatNext add the garlic and allow the chicken to brown on both sides, turning once.

adding tomatoes and basilOnce both sides are adequately cooked, add the tomatoes. Sauté for about 3-5 minutes until the tomatoes have softened and some of it has formed a sauce with the olive oil and garlic. Next add the basil and cook for another minute.

adding cheeseNext add the grated Parmesan cheese and remove from the heat.

plated- Tomato Basil ChickenPlate and serve. Makes 2 to 3 servings. Add a side of cooked Mediterranean vegetables or a Greek salad.

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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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Sweet Tomato Chutney

Sweet Tomato Chutney Where you aware Chutney doesn’t just describe a recipe of mixing tomatoes with spices? There are other references to Chutney, such as Chutney music that was established in the 1940’s Ramdew Chaitoe Albumwithin the temples, wedding houses, and sugar cane fields of the Indo-Caribbean.

The first recorded music did appear until 1968 by musician and music recorder Ramdew Chaitoe, who live in a small South American country named Suriname. The album was entitled King of Suriname and all of the songs were religious in nature.

There is also the Chutney Soca, and type of music according to Wikapedia, and originated in Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana and also Suriname.

Chutney soca music is a crossover style of music incorporating Soca elements and Hindi-English lyrics, and Chutney music (as mentioned in the on set of this article) with Indian instruments such as the dholak and dhantal.

But the Chutney we want to make extra special  mention of is a food, and it is called Sweet Tomato Chutney.

According to Food Reference,  chutney original is from India (Hindi: chatni), and is prepared as a relish made from fresh fruits and spices. They go on to mention that Chutney is almost accompanied with every meal in India.

The relish can be fresh or cooked, and is prepared with varying flavors, ranging from sweet or sour, spicy or mild, or any combination of these.

Chutney  can be thin or chunky, and can be prepared with fruits or vegetables or a combination of both. The different types of ingredients used can be mango, apples, pears, tamarind, onions, lemon, tomato, raisins, coconut, vinegar, sugar, honey, citrus peel, garlic, ginger, mint, turmeric, cinnamon, cilantro, and hot chilies.

There is a variety of ways to prepare chutney. It really just depends on what your palate prefers.

Here is the version from the kitchen of Splendid Recipes and More….

Here is what you will need:

– All organic ingredients used –

4 medium Roma tomatoes, diced

4 medium Orange tomatoes, dice

1 large sweet onion, diced

3 gloves garlic, minced

1-2 tsp. pie spice

1 tsp. salt, preferably Himalayan salt

2 tbsp. olive oil

The orange type of tomato we used was the Woodle Orange Heirloom Tomato, which we purchased at the Whole Foods Market.

preparing in a pan over medium heat the Sweet Tomato ChutneyOver medium heat using a ceramic coated pan heat the oil.

Next add onions, garlic, spice, and sauté for 2 minutes.  Next add the diced tomatoes, salt and sugar.

Mix to combine. Leave on heat another 2 to 4 minutes, while stirring tomato mixture.

Cooling in a large ceramic mising bowl - Sweet Tomato Chutney

 

Remove from heat and pour mixture into a large mouthed mixing bowl, preferably ceramic,and allow chutney to cool.

Homemade Italian Bruschetta AppetizerChutney goes will topped over Bruschetta as shown here in the image.

Sweet Tomato ChutneyAfter the chutney has cooled, spoon into mason jars, top with lids, and tighten. Keep refrigerated.

 

 

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Garden Fresh Tomatoes and Salsa

Garedn Fresh Tomatoes and Salsa

Fresh produce from the garden. Are you thinking what I’m thinking? SALSA!!

But first a little tomato trivia:

The U.S. Congress passed the Tariff Act of 1883 which levied a ten percent duty on imported vegetables to protect American growers from foreign competition. This same year they declared the tomato a vegetable, so it could be included in the tariff, and from that time on the fruit was converted to a vegetable.

Tomato At Its Best, When Cooked

Tomatoes are at their peak, and now is the time to roast or cook and can them. Roasting or cooking tomatoes make them better for you, as the lycopene is higher after being cooked. Lycopene is an antioxidant that is great for keeping the heart healthy and on beat. Harvard Medical School says that one slice of raw tomato contains approximately 515 micrograms of lycopene, while 2 tablespoons of tomato paste contains 13,800 micrograms of lycopene.

Here are some info-graphics that the Health News Library has post about tomatoes over the past year (2013-14).

Preventing skin damage with tomatoes

tomatoes and cancer

With the harvest of our latest tomatoes, we remembered a recipe we have for Fresh Mexican Salsa in the form of a video. After viewing the video check out this link for more information on the benefits of tomatoes: Protecting Your Skin From the Sun.

Enjoy the video and we hope you prepare Fresh Mexican Salsa with your garden fresh tomatoes.

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