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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What To Do With Your Turkey Dinner Leftovers

What To Do With Your Turkey Dinner Leftovers What to do with all of that turkey meat leftover from your Thanksgiving Dinner. When you were preparing a turkey dinner for Thanksgiving the day before and the day of, you no doubt were anticipating what you would do with the leftovers, especially the turkey meat itself.

Thanksgiving dinner is one of the most highly anticipated meals of the year, and you can make the most of the turkey leftovers by transforming them into soups, sandwiches, and salads with these satisfying recipes from Splendid Recipes and More.

What To Do With Leftovers

Culinary dishes made from leftovers are common in many American households. Recipe ideas for leftovers were created in the days before refrigeration and reliable airtight containers existed. Besides capturing nutrition from otherwise inedible bones, stocks and broths make an excellent base for adding leftover morsels too small to be a meal themselves.

Casseroles, paella, fried rice, Shepherd pies, and pizza can also be used for this purpose, and may even have been invented as a means of reusing leftovers (Leftovers – Wikapedia).

Culinary Ideas For Your Leftover Turkey

In the following recipes, the leftover turkey can replace the chicken. Turkey also makes a great addition to our chicken soups and casseroles. Here are a few ideas to use your leftover turkey in our chicken recipes.

close up of Mango Guacamole Chicken SaladMango Guacamole Chicken Salad 

1 large cooked chicken breast, without bone or skin

3 tablespoons mango puree

3 tablespoons of mayonnaise (Link Here For Homemade Recipe)

1 teaspoon coconut sugar

Shred the cooked chicken breast into a medium bowl and mix with mango puree, mayonnaise, and sugar. Set the mixture aside.

For the Guacamole

1 avocado, seeded and peel removed

1 small tomato, without seeds

2 garlic gloves

2 teaspoons powder coriander

3 tablespoons chopped yellow onion

1 teaspoon white balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon lime juice

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon Himalayan salt

5 to 6 whole pepper corns

Place all the ingredients in a blender, and blend together for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Set aside.

Read more here about plating the Mango Guacamole Chicken Salad

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Enchilada Casserole with Kale and Sweet PotatoesEnchilada Casserole with Kale and Sweet Potatoes

This recipe is made without meat, but you can add some left over shredded turkey meat (2 to 3 cups).

1 large sweet potato, grated (making about 2 cups)

1 small onion, sliced

1/2 teaspoon cumin seed

1 bag Fresh Baby Kale Mix

1 – 14.5-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 – 14.5-ounce can tomato sauce, no salt added

1/4 cup chipotle salsa

1/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (for a vegan dish use tofu or nutritional yeast)

4 corn tortillas cut into strips

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Coat a 13 X 9-inch baking dish with butter or coconut oil (for a vegan or vegetarian dish)

Evenly spread the grated sweet potato in the baking dish, then layer the onion. Next sprinkle with the cumin seed, then layer on the kale and black beans (you can opt for adding 3/4th pound of cooked ground beef or chicken at this point).

Pour the tomato sauce over the dish, along with the chipotle salsa. Sprinkle with cheese, then spread the tortilla strips on top.

Cover and bake for 25 minutes. Let cool about 5 minutes. Plate and serve.

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Read More Here About Kale… Kale Makes a Heart Healthy Salad

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Coconut Chicken Lettuce WrapsCoconut Chicken Lettuce Wraps

12 leaves of butter lettuce

2 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil

1 pound chicken breast or chicken thigh strips (option to also use ground meat)

2 medium green onions, chopped

½ cup canned water chestnuts, drained, rinsed, and chopped

¼ cup chicken broth

Recipe ideas for Turkry day left overs2 tablespoons tamari soy sauce

1 tablespoon tapioca starch

2 tablespoons filtered water

¼ cup gomasio (sesame seeds and sea salt) – recipe to follow

1/2 cup dried fine flacked unsweetened coconut meat

Link here to prepare the Gomasio for the Coconut Chicken Lettuce Wraps, and the instructions to prepare the recipe. Click here.

We also have…

Gluten Free BBQ Chicken Lasagna Just shred some turkey meat.

Roasted Chicken and Butternut Squash with Spinach and Goat Cheese Salad The turkey is already roasted.

Chicken Tortilla Soup or how about a Turkey Tortilla Soup?

Oriental Chicken Wraps Just use left over turkey.

Mexican Chicken Tortilla Pie You guessed it, Mexican Turkey Tortilla Pie

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Is It Really Organic and What Does That Mean Anyway?

Is It Really Organic and What Does That Mean Anyway?

Before you go out and buy a bunch of organic foods blindly, let’s really sit down and talk about what organic means.   Is it really organic?

According to Wikipedia organic foods are “Foods that are produced using methods that do not involve modern synthetic inputs such  as synthetic pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Organic foods are also not processed using irradiation, industrial solvents, or chemical food additives.

So organic food leaves out the things I talked about a couple of posts back. Organic foods are void of pesticides and fertilizers. They aren’t irradiated or processed chemically – all important stuff.

However, the word “organic” is not a legal term in the United States, so sometimes it seems quite meaningless. In the United States, the legal term for organic food is “Certified Organic.” Food can be certified by the USDA when it meets certain conditions set out by the National Organic Program (NOP).

National Organic Program

Certified Organic produce must be grown using organic methods without chemical pesticides, genetically modified ingredients or petroleum or sewage-based fertilizers. It also can’t be processed with irradiation or contain prohibitive preservatives.

Certified Organic livestock must not be given antibiotics or growth hormones. They also need to have access to the outdoors.

When it comes to processed Certified Organic foods, 95% of the ingredients must be grown organically to contain the seal. And if a label says it is “made with organic ingredients,” it only needs to be made of 70-95% organic ingredients.

Food that bears this certification seal is generally thought to provide the consumer protection, but it’s not without its critics. Critics are concerned that the regulations deal with the way the food is grown, but offers no guarantee of the quality of the product. There are also reports that the certification standards are lacking and that includes a 2010 report from the Inspector General.

So what does this all mean for the consumer?

1. Products, especially non-food items, can be labeled as organic, but don’t meet the appropriate guidelines. Non-food products are not subject to the Certified Organic standards.

2. The guidelines may not be enforced properly, causing some foods to be labeled as Certified Organic when they really shouldn’t be.

3. Food that is organic may not actually be certified because the grower chooses not to get Do your researchcertified or isn’t able to get certified because they produce less than $5000 in products each year.

What can you do?

Given all these potential problems with organic labeling, it’s natural to wonder if it’s all worth it. The key is to read labels and be aware of word play. Stating things like “made with organic ingredients” is a typical way of making something sound good, when it may not be quite what it seems. Above all, know where your food is coming from, buy locally and do your homework.

Next post click here: Weird-Looking Heirloom Vegetables: Why They’re Important

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Eight Reasons Eating Organic is Important to You…and the World around You

This is the second post of Going Organic with guest speaker Grace Simpson. If you missed the Introduction please link here to read: Going Organic

Now for -Eight Reasons Eating Organic is Important to You…and the World around You- with Grace Simpson. way-of-life

It seems like everyone is talking about organic foods like it’s some kind of buzz word or status symbol. I suppose for some, it might be. But for many of us, it’s a way of life that takes us back to a more natural way of living and farming. One that has been destroyed by the machine food production has become today.

Now, I don’t mean to sound like one of those doom and gloom, anti-establishment types. I don’t disparage anyone for choosing the foods that they do. Sometimes it’s an economic necessity. Other times it’s simply not having enough information about what’s really going on with our food. Sometimes it’s just apathy.

“Science may have found a cure for most evils; but we have found no remedy for the worst of them all, the apathy of human beings.” ~ Helen Keller

I’m not sure what I can do about the apathetic, but for people like you who may have budgeting obstacles or are trying to find more information about what’s going into you bodies, I am here to help.

So the first natural question is…why go organic?

farm

Organic eating has a number of benefits and here are just a few of them:

– Organic produce is free of chemical pesticides and fertilizers. Even if you wash your produce, you cannot remove all these harmful chemicals that can affect your nervous system, cause cancer and more. Also consider that conventional farming which uses harmful chemicals can contribute to the contamination of our water supply, so supporting organic, you are also supporting a cleaner water supply for all.

– While people may not be quite as concerned, eating organic can help you avoid foods that have been irradiated. Government bodies tout the irradiation process as helpful in reducing harmful bacteria, preventing spoilage and increasing shelf life of foods. However, irradiation reduces the nutritional value of your foods and there is growing concern by researchers that the process may not be as safe as previously thought.

– Avoidance of genetically modified foods or GMOs (genetically modified organisms). While huge biotechnology companies like Monstanto will have you believing that they are increasing the viability of crop growing, there are long-term dangers in GMOs that have caused them to be banned by much of Europe and Japan.

– Organic livestock is fed its natural diet, rather than potentially contaminated grains, antibiotics and hormones. This is in contrast to conventionally-raised livestock that get hormones to help them grow faster and antibiotics are given en masse as a preventative measure to illness. The scary thing is that the preventative measure may be necessary given the poor hygienic conditions of the animals. With organic, animals are raised more humanely and more naturally, eliminating the need for these potentially dangerous situations for both livestock and human.

– Organic growing contributes to improved soil quality. A lot of people don’t realize it, but our soils are so depleted that we no longer get the nutrients we did from our foods a few decades ago. In order to obtain the certified organic label from the USDA, soil must be free of prohibited chemicals for three years and the increased soil quality is a necessary goal for organic farmers. To learn more about a variety of soil studies, check this out.

– Organic farming is more wildlife friendly. From animals to plant species, a more natural ecology is supported through organic methods. There are many studies supporting this including a study from the University of Oxford that found that there is increased biodiversity on organically farmed land.

– Buying organic allows you to support your local economy and farmers. This is good for you because you get fresher foods and also reduces the pollution that results from food transport.

There are so many reasons to go organic and this post touches on just a few of them. Here’s the most immediate one that people can really appreciate. Organic foods simply taste better. This is real food, free of all unnecessary human interventions and inventions. It’s nature’s perfection and once you try it, you probably won’t want to go back to your other options.

Of course, this still leaves the issue of cost and how organic food seems unaffordable to many families today. Well, that is exactly what we’ll be talking about in my next post: How to Eat Organic, Even if You’re on a Budget.

Next post click here:  How to Eat Organic on a Budget and What Organic Really Mean

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Going Organic

Meet Guest Blogger: Grace Simpson on Going Organic

If you’ve ever thought about going organic, you’ve probably had a few questions on your mind.

What does organic really mean?1-a-veg Going Organic

How can it benefit you?

And can it really be done on a budget?

Well, I’ve enlisted a special guest for our site here and her name is Grace Simpson. She’s very educated about organics and is great at helping people understand and ease into a more natural way of eating.

She’ll be here for the next little while sharing great advice and tidbits, so I’ll let her introduce herself…

Hi, I’m Grace. I’ve been studying organic living since the USDA introduced national standards in 2002 and my family has been eating fully organic since about 2006. This subject means a lot to me because I want my family to have the healthiest meals possible. A few other related subjects that I feel are important are our nation’s health, our wildlife and the sustainability of food production.

Even though certified organics have been around for a decade, I know there are still a lot of questions surrounding organic food. That’s why I am so happy to be here to talk about many of those concerns people have.

1-b-growing-veg Going Organic

Here’s what you can expect in the next few posts:

– Why eating organic is important…to you and the world around you.
– How to introduce organics, even if you’re on a budget.
– What does organic really mean and are you really eating organic?
– We’ll also discuss issues surrounding, meats, and produce in more detail.
– Being your own source of organic foods.
– Do you need supplements?

We’re going to cover a lot, but remember, as you start consider the organic lifestyle; you don’t have to do this all at once. Just take it one step at a time adding healthier options slowly and keeping this great earth of ours in harmony.

Next theme click here: Eight Reasons Eating Organic is Important to You…and the World around You

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