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Planting Time is Here and Near!

It has been a slow go on this years plantings, even for the early veggies. I had direct seeded snap peas and shelling peas around mid-march that have grown about a foot. I had also direct seeded mesclun which is just about ready to harvest (and last week made a succession planting of lettuces). My broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower starts didn’t make it – because I’ve no patience to “harden them off”. I had to repurchase starts of these. And by that time I had cut off the bottom of all the quart milk bottles I’d saved to proved each start a mini-greenhouse which has worked marvelously. I also see that some of my onion and leek seeds have sprouted and some of the tiny starts I planted are still alive. I also started some garlic and have yet to plant them in the garden; suspect they won’t be ready until the fall comes. Potatoes should have been planted in March, I didn’t because I wasn’t sure about my space and I live in Idaho where potatoes are plentiful (but you really can’t beat the taste of a homegrown potato – no kidding)

Early Spring, provides little windows to start your garden and you have to make the most of the sunny opportunities. I had started tomatoes in the house in february and transplanted them this past weekend, during a sunny spell, outdoors and placed Walls of Water around each of the 10 plants. IF you don’t have walls of water for your tomatoes or peppers, keep them indoors until around June; then plant them outdoors as it is still too cold at night for them.

Speaking of peppers, I will have to purchase starts of these too as my seeds just did not germinate! Must have been too old or I also didn’t store them right (but my other seeds have germinated fine so far that were stored the same way).

I may start indoors my some summer plants, squash, melons if I have time and energy. Otherwise I will wait until June to direct seed them, which will be fine.

 
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Posted by on May 1, 2012 in 2012 Garden

 

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tomato sauce or marinara recipe for canning/freezing

The tomatoes are starting to really come in – but not enough to do some big batch of canning.  Instead I think I will make a batch or 2 of tomato sauce or marinara.  If you make tomato sauce I’d recommend using the smaller, 1 cup size jars (8oz), as you will likely use this size most often for recipes (or even less – then you can save to use later in the week).  For marinara I recommend using quart size jars as they will cover a pound of pasta.

For a basic sauce:  Tools:  Blender, Food mill/sieve, big stock pot.

Put tomatoes into blender (I have one of those vita mixes) and blend into juice. Pour into food mill to strain out seeds/skin then pour juice into pot.  I pour about 4 blenders full of juice into a basic stock pot and boil down to my prefered thickness for sauce.  I don’t add anything else.  I then put into jars and can – you can use either waterbath or pressure can for tomatoes. Waterbath about 45mins-60min – Pressure Can 20-25 mins @11lbs.

For Marinara, use steps above, but add in desired amount of sautéed onion(sautéed in olive oil), crushed/minced/chopped garlic, chopped flat leaf parsley, and basil, throw in a couple of teaspoons of italian seasoning.  You could even put in wine if you want.  Again, boil down to desire consistency and process in quart size containers is water bath for 60-70 mins or pressure can 25 mins @11lbs.

Super easy!  Really.  And if you are not comfortable (or have not yet graduated to canning) you can easily fill jars/plastic bags/or other containers and freeze.  NOTE: if freezing, remember to leave enough head space for expansion.  Jars can and will break as they do not have much give to them.

 
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Posted by on August 29, 2011 in 2011 Vegetable Garden

 

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