Posts Tagged ‘Tomatoes’


In contrast to last weekend’s cold, wintry weather,  this weekend was balmy and spring-like.  I took advantage of the sunny conditions and let my seedlings sit outside for the day.  They loved the sun!

Everything seems to be growing nicely.   The peppers, pictured above, are getting big enough to transplant to larger containers.


Last weekend, I moved the first flat of tomatoes to larger pots and gave them a dose of fish emulsion.  It looks like the seedlings have already doubled in size.  The second flat of tomatoes, started last weekend, are already sprouting.

I also started a flat of squash last week, and the zucchini, below, is beginning to appear.


My snow peas and sugar snaps had grown so big, I just had to transplant them.  They are now living in pots, pictured below.


Next weekend, I’ll start some green beans and eggplant.  And if I’m really brave, I’ll start the purple hull peas.

Until then, I’m hoping the rain lets up some so I can get in the garden beds to weed and dig in the cover crop so I’ll have somewhere to plant all these lovely seedlings!



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I just made the BESTEST EVER gingery carrot tomato soup.  The recipe comes from FatFree Vegan Kitchen, one of my favorite food blogs, and it was super easy to make.

You only need a few ingredients to pull this soup together:  carrots, onions, garlic, ginger, veggie broth, canned tomatoes, cayenne pepper and tahini.  It cooks up in 40 minutes.  Susan, the recipe author, recommends letting it simmer longer for the flavors to really meld.  However, I was hungry and couldn’t wait, so I dove right in.  The soup was already so good with minimal cooking, I’m wondering how much better it’ll be reheated tomorrow?

On a side note, my dog Meghan goes bonkers for carrots, so she was underfoot while this was cooking.  I guess I can be nice and share with her…

On a double side note, I love my new soup mug from my oldest and dearest friend, K.



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Today while perusing Facebook, I saw a link to an article about a resident who was fighting his city over whether he could keep his front-yard garden.

According to the article, the city viewed the garden as a “blot on the landscape” and demanded that he convert his garden to sod. With the help of a lawyer, the resident appealed the citation against him and won.

The article goes on to quote a city official who said that, while the resident had the law on his side, it didn’t make sense to have a front-yard garden. After all, everyone knows gardens belong in the back yard, right?

I had several reactions when I read the article, the first being, “You go, gardener!” Followed by noting that his garden looks much neater than mine!


The photo above shows one view of my front-yard garden. A view coming from the other direction:


Now my yard is a bit different than the Missouri resident’s, mainly because I have a row of crepe myrtles crossing the front. In the spring, the trees are surrounded by tulips, iris, and wildflowers, creating a show of pastels for the passers-by.

I’ve also planted flowers all along the perimeter to shield the deer fence and add some color:



Another thought I had when reading the article was this: While it might be traditional to have your veggies out back, what if, like me, your back yard is not sunny enough to grow summer veggies?

And why should someone grow sod when they can instead have a garden to feed their family? When I visited Ireland and Peru, I was impressed with how many rural landowners made the best of their space, including having gardens and animals in all areas of their yards.

The city official was concerned about how the garden would look in the winter. I don’t know what that gardener plans to do, but I plant cover crop. Last year’s clover received rave reviews from the people walking by my house.


I don’t know if the resident lived in an area that has a homeowner association with rules on landscaping. I don’t live in such an area, so I am free to do what I want with my yard.

And while it might not be to everyone’s taste, my garden looks beautiful to me. It brings me joy — and lots of produce and cut flowers!

Besides, I’m not sure a sodded yard could compare to the beauty I see in a homegrown tomato.


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Last weekend, I finally finished digging my last garden bed! This late addition to the summer garden now houses the extra tomatillo and basil seedlings that didn’t fit elsewhere.

Now that I’m finally finished constructing beds, it’s time to lock my shovel in the shed lest I be tempted to keep digging. It’s also past time to weed some flower beds, dead-head the roses, and basically switch to maintenance mode.


I have already been enjoying some of the fruits of my labor: mostly squash, zucchini and green beans. And I’m excited to say that in the war against squash bugs, it’s currently MaryNell 1; evil bugs 0. Who knows how long that will last, but I have managed to can 14 pints of hot pickled squash as well as 4 pints of zucchini relish. Oh, and that doesn’t include all the squash I’ve eaten and shared. It’s been a good year!


Still to come in the garden are corn (pictured above), potatoes and tomatoes:


I’m looking forward to making some salsa with tomatillos…


… and jalepenos:


I can’t wait to try some fresh lima beans …


… and to figure out how to season purple hull peas without oil or fatback:


I’ve been harvesting the bush beans for awhile, but just noticed that my yard-long noodles are starting to appear …


… as are the cucumbers!


To be honest, I’ve been harvesting pickling cucumbers for the past week. On tomorrow’s agenda: refrigerator pickles!

So while I wait for the rest of the summer goodies to appear, I might as well steam up the last of the chard and snow peas. Writing about all this food has made me hungry!

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Hi, my name is MaryNell and I’m a food addict.

I’m also a vegetarian who, about 60 percent of the time, eats a healthy diet.  But get me started on certain foods, and major overeating occurs, followed by one or all of the following:  tummy ache, lethargy, self-hating.   So, in order to avoid the latter, I have decided I must steer clear of the following foods:

1. jelly beans – do these have any redeeming quality?  I think not.

2. potato chips – it’s true: I can’t eat just one. Or two. Or a handful.

3. dried mangos –  Yum with a capital “Y.”

4. peanuts

5. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

6. chocolate covered almonds

7. ice cream – I take a bit different approach to ice cream: I don’t eat the whole container all at once.  Rather, I eat it with every meal (except breakfast) until it’s gone.  I could be full from my meal, but if there’s ice cream in the house, I still reach for the scoop.

8. brownies – these are terribly addictive, hence I don’t make them at home.  Delicious, chocolate gooey-ness!!!  Be still my heart!!!     I can actually stop at one, especially if that’s all I buy from the bakery, but I always want more, more, more.

That being said, I’m going to tempt fate by making some black bean brownies this weekend.  I have some friends queued up to try them, so it’s not like I can eat the whole pan without greatly embarrassing myself.  Though if I find these addictive, I won’t be able to make them again.  It’s not worth the risk.

On a more positive note, there are some foods that I tend to overeat, but don’t feel so worried about since there’s  a limited time during which I can overindulge:

1. local strawberries – only around about a month

2. local ripe, sweet watermelon  – very refreshing on a hot summer day

3. the first flush of home-grown tomatoes — heaven on earth!!!

Do you have any food addictions?








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I love home-grown tomatoes. I also love to grow said tomatoes from seed. There are so many varieties from which to choose, and it’s not that difficult to do. Plus I can grow so much more from seed at a fraction of the cost of buying already established plants.

However, I must admit to feeling a bit lacking when I see those tall tomato plants at the garden center in April. They are at least four times larger than my seedlings!

I think I’ve figured out how to prevent my early spring tomato blues. First, I just need to remind myself of last year’s situation: I planted my puny seedlings the same time my friend P planted her much-taller store-bought plants. I vigorously fed and watered my seedlings, which resulted in my plants fruiting at the same time as P’s.

So this year, I’m going to be better about fertilizing the seedlings while they are living in their trays. I’ll just have to learn to love the smell of fish emulsion!

Of course, I’ll continue to fertilize once they are in the ground.

The other thing I need to do is start the seeds in a timely manner. Today I realized that I really needed to get some seeds started if I hope to compete with the store-bought plants. Problem is I have only one heat mat and limited space on the dining room table.

So, the dilemma before me: which seeds to start now and which to wait another week or two?

I pulled out my seed-storing box and located the tomato seeds. I currently have several varieties left over from last year: Daniels, Granny Cantrell, German Johnson, Bonny Best, Ozark Pink, Barnes Mountain Yellow, Big Mouth, Goldman’s Italian-American, and Bison.

Using a very scientific method (“eenie meenie miney moe”), I chose the first four listed above.

Today was sunny and warm, so after planting, I left the flat outside to bask in the sun. It wasn’t until late afternoon that I realized there was room for one more flat on the heat mat. Oh well…It’s supposed to monsoon (and perhaps snow) tomorrow, so the seed starting will have to wait for another day.

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