How To Ripen Green Tomatoes

How To Ripen Green Tomatoes

How To Ripen Green Tomatoes

Our growing season is very short. It might just be 100 days, plus our summers tend to be on the cooler side -not enough for tomatoes to ripen on the vine. Not wanting to give the snow and frost the chance to kill them, we often have to do a quick harvest. Thankfully tomatoes ripen nicely after already being harvested. They also do still taste better then the store bought ones :).

This year, however, we did not have to harvest green tomatoes just yet, even though we did have snow and frost. Our greenhouse, that still is under construction, has kept the place frost free so far. The coldest it got in there, on a very cold night, was 5C = 41F. Very exciting! We are still working on some more insulation and a rocket stove to keep the place warm. In fact, we actually planted some more tomatoes at the end of summer to try to grow them in the winter. It is the Oregon Spring tomato – we are taking advantage of their ability to grow fruit in cool weather. We will keep you posted on the tomatoes and the greenhouse.

And now, how to ripen green tomatoes:

  • The tomato needs to be a good size and look shiny. Small, very green tomatoes will not ripen. Only mature green tomatoes ripen after.
  • Tomatoes do not need direct sun light to ripen. I just store them in the basement. If you do not have a darker space, cover them with newspapers.
  • Room temperature: a bit on a cooler side is best. Warm temperature will speed up the ripening process, cooler will slow it down and lead to having tomatoes for up to 3 months.
  • Tomatoes should ideally be well-spaced, one by one, not touching each other. So if one gets bad, it does not infect others.
  • A stem can be left to help ripen the tomatoes, personally I have not found it necessary.

Generally speaking, to ripen green tomatoes is very easy and they are forgiving. Here are 5 different ways to ripen green tomatoes from fellow homesteaders. If you end up with green tomatoes, for whatever reason, do not worry, they will ripen nicely afterwards .

You want to learn more about gardening? Enroll in the Growing Heirloom Tomatoes Class. Grow the tastiest heirloom tomatoes in your neighbourhood! From planting seeds to saving seeds, learn successful techniques for growing healthy heirloom tomatoes from heirloom expert Marie Iannotti.

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Tomato Root Rot

Tomato Root Rot

Tomato Root RotGrowing tomatoes is fun, and we grow lots every year. However, it gets difficult when plants develop diseases; the growing season is pretty much over if that disease is deadly. Tomato root rot is one of them.

What is tomato root rot

Tomato root rot is just what the name says, the roots of the tomato plant rot. Usually it is not noticeable before it is too late and the plant dies. A very sad situation. I am sure there are fancy names for the rotting, I’m a simple gardener so I do not need to know if the rotting is a fungus or a bacteria. But if you are into it, here is a good link on tomato problems and diagnostic.

What causes tomato root rot

What causes tomato root rot

Tomato root rot occurs when the roots of a tomato plant are constantly wet. Some plants like that, some dislike it, but tomatoes can’t stand it. Ironically, great gardeners and fancy drip systems get that problem, more lazy gardeners do not know what tomato root rot is. Also areas where it is hot and humid (like Florida) have a problem with tomato root rot.

How to prevent tomato root rot

Soil. Tomatoes are heavy feeder and love light soil with good drainage and lots of compost. If you grow them in a pot or grow bag perlite, sphagnum peat moss and compost are the ideal components for tomato soil (also known as Mel’s Mix from the Square Foot Garden book). But whatever soil you have in the garden, it will be great for tomatoes IF you add lots of compost. If you want to be on the sure site, have your soil tested.

Tomatoes like a soil pH level of 6.0-6.5. To lower the pH, use coffee grounds. tea bags and/or compost or composted manure. To raise your soil pH level, use wood ash (ashes from your fireplace (you are saving this, right?)) and/or crushed egg shells. Mix these in when you first till your soil.

Copyright © 2014 – Survival at Home – Read more at: http://survivalathome.com/blossom-end-rot-fix/

Tomatoes like a soil pH level of 6.0-6.5. To lower the pH, use coffee grounds. tea bags and/or compost or composted manure. To raise your soil pH level, use wood ash (ashes from your fireplace (you are saving this, right?)) and/or crushed egg shells. Mix these in when you first till your soil.

Copyright © 2014 – Survival at Home – Read more at: http://survivalathome.com/blossom-end-rot-fix/

Water. Tomato plants need to be able to dry in between watering. Careful, I am not talking about irregular watering, that will lead to cracked tomatoes, but watering in intervals, give them a good drink and let the plants root dry in between. If you live in a wet area with lots of rain, give your tomatoes protection. A roof, a south facing wall, or just a plastic bag in heavy rains over the plant can help. Drip systems are good, but need to be adjusted to the needs of the plant. Constant moisture can lead to problems.

Tomato variety. Some tomato varieties are more resistant to root rot than others. If you can’t avoid constant wet soil, you might want to look for tomato varieties that are marked as resistant to disease. We prefer heirloom varieties from local growers. After all, they have stood the test of time and are still around.

What to do if you got root rot

Tomato root rot is fatal and contagious. Remove the infected plant immediately, careful not to infect others. Do not plant a new plant in the same spot right away, the soil is infected too. If it happened in a pot or greenhouse remove the soil that was infected, making sure you got rid of the disease. Disinfect your tools and pots. Tomato root rot is not something you want to take lightly.

See also Blossom End Rot – What It Is and How To Fix It

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Determinate and Indeterminate tomato plants (to prune or not to prune)

Determinate and Indeterminate tomato plants (to prune or not to prune)

Determinate and Indeterminate tomato plants (to prune or not to prune)

There are two main varieties of tomato plants: Determinate and Indeterminate. A seed package will tell you what you got. I don’t know of a way to tell if a plant is determinate or indeterminate by just looking at a young plant, but later in the season you can see if it is a bush or a huge still growing plant.

Determinate tomato plants

Determinate plants are bush type plants. They only grow to a certain height, produce their fruits, and die off.

Determinate and Indeterminate tomato plants (to prune or not to prune)

The picture above is showing a determinate plant that is higher at the beginning of the season than the indeterminate next to it. In a month the determinate will be about double in width and the indeterminate double in height.

Determinate plants need a cage to support them. They grow suckers just like all tomatoes, but do not need to be pruned. The reason is that the suckers will also not get bigger then the plant is, and actually give you another crop, so do not prune determinate plants.

Determinate and Indeterminate tomato plants (to prune or not to prune)

Determinate tomato plants look good and do well in a pot, especially the smaller varieties. Plus, determinate varieties are usually earlier than indeterminate. They are great for beginners and for short growing seasons.

Indeterminate tomato plants

Indeterminate plants grow all season long. If all the suckers are left on, it will eventually be a huge bush too, with the difference that the suckers grow endlessly. So if they are not pruned, they definitely will need a huge cage. Some tomato growers like to cut indeterminate tomatoes back, so they stay small, and let the suckers grow to a limited height. That way it turns into a wide bush. If space is not an issue it is an interesting way to grow. We prefer to prune indeterminate tomatoes to a single stem. That way we can grow more plants in a small space, vertically. For support we use Tomato Clips.

Determinate and Indeterminate tomato plants (to prune or not to prune)

Indeterminate tomatoes can be grown in a pot too. They do good pruned to a single stem supported by a stock and leaning onto a south facing wall.

Determinate and Indeterminate tomato plants (to prune or not to prune)

This is what happens if Indeterminate plants are not pruned properly. Growing indeterminate tomatoes is really fun. Try it if you have not yet!

Dwarf tomato plants

Determinate and Indeterminate tomato plants (to prune or not to prune)

Dwarf tomato plants stay small even if they are indeterminate plants. We do not prune draft tomato plants. I like to start a few dwarf plants very early and plant them in a pot; we have our first ripe tomatoes a month or two before the rest come. They also do very good in the ground with a cage.

How to prune indeterminate tomato plants

Only indeterminate, not draft varieties need to be pruned. Pruning will give you earlier and better fruit. You have the choice pruning the plant to a single stem by removing the suckers, the little thing between a leaf and a stem that look like little plants.

Determinate and Indeterminate tomato plants (to prune or not to prune)

You can snip the suckers off with your finger. If you decide to prune your plants to a single stem, it is best to do it every week, otherwise the little suckers will grow to a branch. By the way, you can grow a new plants from this suckers.

Or you can prune the plant to a desired height and let it become a bush. Great for outside gardening where space is not an issue.

Happy tomato growing!

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How To Grow Tomatoes From Cuttings

How to grow tomatoes from cuttings

How to grow tomatoes from cuttings

Usually you grow tomatoes from seeds, and I covered the how to start tomatoes from seeds in this post. But did you know you can grow tomatoes from cuttings too? Well, you can and it is very easy. Tomatoes belong to the nightshade plant family. There is a unique thing about nightshade plants: they grow roots along the stem, any stem. This is especially helpful if you have trouble or no space to start plants from seed. Just get a seedling and multiply it. Also, if there is a plant that you especially liked you can take a cutting in at the end of the season and keep it happy till next spring.

How to get a cutting

How to grow tomatoes from cuttings

Tomato plants produce suckers, that look like little plants between a leaf and a stem. If you can find one of those, they are the best. You can snip the suckers off with your finger and there you have a cutting. But a leafs will do too. Cutting should have three leaves for nourishment. Just cut them gently off not to damage the plant. Also in spring, if you have a seedling that germinated more then one plant, they need to be pruned. But the pruned seedling can also be a cutting.

How to root a cutting

There is no science to this part. Just place the cutting in water, it will produce roots. Now you can plant it in some soil and grow it into a new plant.

To grow tomatoes from cuttings is a great way to save some money if you can’t start your seedlings from seeds. Just get one plant and multiply it by as many as you want.  Your greenhouse provider might be wondering why you are getting just two plants this year instead of the 10 last year ;).

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How to Start Tomatoes from Seeds

How to start tomatos from seeds

How to start tomatos from seeds

Growing tomatoes is just as much fun as it is rewarding.  Tomatoes need sunshine, lots of it, and warmth. They do not like to be wet and cold. Other than that, tomato plants are very forgiving. I like to start tomatoes from seeds and watch the miracle of life to develop. Here is how I start our tomatoes from seeds.

Where to get tomato seeds

How to start tomatos from seeds

I like to grow heirloom tomato varieties, they just seem to have so much more flavour. Since our weather conditions are very unique I like to buy the seeds locally because plants have to adjust to the climate they are in. I get most of our tomato seeds from Caseys heirloom tomatoes in Airdrie. I also make sure the plants have a short growing time (days to maturity), preferably less than 70 days. See what Heirloom tomato varieties we grow in a northern garden.

When to start tomato seeds

There are different opinions about this out there. Some gardeners like to start very early. For most plants it’s written on the package when to start them. I am not very patient when it comes to planting tomatoes, but every year I start a bit later. As much as I like to have ripe tomatoes in July, it does not help much to start them to early. I have gone with a compromise, which work well: I would start a few plants early and transplant them into their final pot long before they can be outside. I start the rest of the plants about 6 weeks before they can go into the greenhouse. That way we do have tomatoes in July :). But our house is not overgrown with tomatoes for too long.

What pots and potting soil to use

How to start tomatos from seeds

For  tomatoes (and peppers too) I like the (free) yogurt containers. It seems like they have the optimal size for those plants. First I make some holes in the bottom for drainage, then fill them about half full with potting soil (You will see later why just half full). A friend of mine recommended the Sunshine brand potting soil. So far I am very happy with it, but I have had success with other brands too. Just make sure it is a loose, light soil. Now I plant two to three seeds.

How to start tomatos from seeds

A sunny window or grow lights

For germination a seed needs moisture and warmth, not so much light. The top of a fridge might be a better place than a cold but bright window. As soon as they are up, young plants need a lot of light. My husband built us a simple grow light similar to this one on YouTube. It really helps to have some more space for starting plants, but even with the grow light, the plants take over our house long before the frost outside will be gone.

How to label plants

Labeling is important so I know what varieties I am actually growing. I would never remember them all. It does not matter what kind of labels to use. I do have some that I bought especially for labeling, but a plastic spoon works just as well. If I have many plants of the same kind, I just label the plastic containers.

Transplanting tomato seedlings

Tomatoes belong to the nightshade plant family along with eggplants, peppers, and potatoes. There is a unique thing about nightshade plants: they grow roots along the stem. This is important! In order to have a healthy, not leggy, tomato plant it is good to plant the seedling deep into the soil. If I had started tomatoes in smaller containers, or bought seedlings from a greenhouse, I would transplant them as soon as they are a little taller into a bigger pot and bury as much as I can of the stem. Sometimes the plant is so leggy that the leaves only start at the top of the plant. This shows that the plant did not have enough light. Transplant it to a bigger pot anyways by burying the stem, give it more light, and it will start to get stronger and healthier.

How to start tomatos from seeds

How to start tomatos from seeeds10

How to start tomatos from seeds

You see, since my seedlings are already in a bigger container I save myself some work ;). Once my little plants germinate and grow taller than the container, I gently cut off the lower leaves, and fill the pot with potting soil to the top. In a few more weeks they will be ready to go into the ground or their final pot. Read all about transplanting tomatoes in the ground here.

How to start tomatos from seeds

I am sure there are more ways to start tomatoes from seeds. This way has worked for me. Share your way in a comment.

Oven Roasted Tomato Sauce

Oven Roasted Tomato Sauce

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Roasted Tomato Sauce

It is mid-January and we already ran out of roasted tomato sauce from our homegrown tomatoes. Sure, I can just buy tomato sauce from the store, but the thing is that we have been spoiled with the yummy taste of homemade oven roasted tomato sauce. It all started in the summer when fellow blogger The Free Range Life posted the Roasted Tomato Sauce recipe that looked so yummy and sounded so easy. Since we had lots of homegrown tomatoes, I made some and we loved it. So I made some more and we froze it. We have been enjoying roasted tomato sauce ever since. But now we are out, and we have about 6 months to go till we have homegrown tomatoes again.

The other day the grocery store had beautiful tomatoes on sale. I bought lots to make roasted tomato sauce. It works with them too, not as sweet as with homegrown tomatoes and a bit more watery but still tastes much better than any store bought tomato sauce. Next year we just need to grow more heirloom tomatoes.

Roasted Tomato Sauce

The recipe is very simple, just the way I like it: take what you have on tomatoes, garlic, onion, olive oil, salt and pepper, basil, oregano and make it the way you like it. Great, eh? And you know what, it works. So yummy! The beauty of this recipe is that no peeling is necessary, everything is used in the sauce.

Roasted Tomato Sauce

It already smells so good in my kitchen where two full pots of tomatoes are roasting in the oven. Now you probably want to make it too. I warn you, you might never again like any store bought tomato sauce. But that’s ok, isn’t it? Here is the Roasted Tomato Sauce recipe.

Roasted Tomato Sauce

This sauce can be preserved for later use. I like to freeze it. Since this sauce is great as a sauce and also as an addition to a soup, I freeze some in bigger and some in small containers.

This sauce can also be canned to save freezer space. You want to learn cunning at home? Canning isn’t as complicated as it sounds. This DVD will show you just how fun and easy preserving your foods can be!

At Home Canning For Beginners and Beyond: DVD

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Heirloom tomato varieties we grow in a northern garden

Heirloom tomato varieties

Heirloom tomato varieties we grow in a northern garden

This is our sixth year of growing tomatoes in Alberta, a challenging and fun thing to do. We grew mainly heirloom tomatoes again. We added two new ones this year: Anna Russian – just because I could not resist the name ;), and Latah – that was a gift seed package from Heritage Harvest Seeds. Both are great and definitely keepers. We did not grow Sweet Tumbler, JD’s Special C-Tex, Ludmilla’s Red Plum, Kimberliy, and Maya & Sion’s Airdrie Classic this year.

Cuor di Bue or Bull’s Heart surprised us with a 2 lb 4 oz tomato! That is lots of tomato in one fruit, and it was all good and yummy!

Heirloom tomato varieties we grow in a northern garden

I started all of the seedlings in just a little soil and replanted them as soon as they grew, always burying the stem. Mid-May I transplanted them into the green house.

Heirloom tomato varieties we grow in a northern garden

Heirloom tomato varieties we grow in a northern garden:

Heirloom tomato varieties we grow in a northern garden

Anna Russian

Heirloom tomato varieties we grow in a northern garden - Anna Russian

A wonderful heirloom from Brenda Hillenius of Oregon who’s grandfather had obtained seeds from a Russian immigrant. The heart shaped fruit are pinkish red. The flesh is sweet and juicy. Very high yields and also very early. Indeterminate, regular leaf foliage. (65 days from transplant).

Latah

Heirloom tomato varieties we grow in a northern garden - Latah

Developed at Latah County at the University of Idaho and named by Dr. Boe. Very early bright red tomato that average about 2 inches across. The flavor is good (very sweet) and better than many of the super early varieties. Indeterminate, regular leaf foliage. (50 days from transplant)

Cuor di Bue or Bull’s Heart

Heirloom tomato varieties we grow in a northern garden - Cuor di Bue or Bull's Heart

Bull’s Heart is a tomato I grew up with; I was thrilled to find it here. It also is a favorite amongst Calgary’s elderly Italian immigrant community.  Many grow only one tomato and this is it- Bull’s Heart.  It will produce up to 900 g (2 lbs.) of pink fruit. A great tomato for making salsa, it is meaty and tasty. And did I mention its huge fruits ;). A favorite!

Native Sun

Heirloom tomato varieties we grow in a northern garden - Native Sun

The earliest yellow determinate tomato. Yum-yum, lots of delicious tomatoes. Seldom they have reached our dinner table though, we just eat them right from the plant. Its supposed to be a poor keeper. I could not tell ;). It also looks and tastes great in a salad with dark greens like kale. Even though we like it so much I only grow one plant because there are so many fruits that we do not need more. It also grows well outside the greenhouse. A favorite!

Mano

Heirloom tomato varieties we grow in a northern garden - Mano

A Hungarian dwarf tomato that will grow only about 40 cm. Very flavorful and early tomato- very sweet with a nice tomato finish.  Globe shaped fruits usually weigh 50-60g. We have been growing mano only in pots so far, I am sure it would do even better in the ground. Can be outside the greenhouse. A favorite!

Matina (aka Tamina)

Heirloom tomato varieties we grow in a northern garden - Matina (aka Tamina)

This tomato is a German OP commercial variety that has been around for 40 years.  Huge plant, full of tasty little tomatoes. Definitely an early variety! I think in mid July the first ones were ripe. Certainly worth it to grow. If you are into fermenting tomatoes, this one works very well because of the more firm skin. It also grows well outside the greenhouse in our northern climate.

Red Brandywine

Heirloom tomato varieties we grow in a northern garden - Red Brandywine

Red Brandywine is an extremely reliable producer of large- 8-12 oz (225-340 g)- perfect red globe fruits. The taste is deep and rich. A favorite!

Yellow Canary

Heirloom tomato varieties we grow in a northern garden - Yellow Canary

A dwarf variety for growing in a pot or hanging basket. 1 oz. cherry type golden yellow,  ornamental fruits (not sure if this one is heirloom).

Sweet Tumbler

Heirloom tomato varieties we grow in a northern garden - Sweet Tumbler

An Australian open-pollinated tumbler type, mid season, pink cherry tomato that will only grow 6” to 8” tall.  At times it seem that this plant will produce more flowers than leaves. However, my plant this year was not healthy.

JD’s Special

Heirloom tomato varieties we grow in a northern garden - JD’s Special C-Tex

JD of Conroe, Texas, stabilized a cross between Brandywine and an unknown black tomato.  A red/black early and tasty tomato. I have been successful growing this one outside the greenhouse too.

Kimberley

Heirloom tomato varieties we grow in a northern garden - Kimberley

John de Rocque from Kimberley BC crossed Tiny Tim with Siberia and stabilized it to this short, potato leaf plant with smooth tasting red tomatoes. This tomato will produce early and keep going all season long.

Ludmilla’s Red Plum

Heirloom tomato varieties we grow in a northern garden - Ludmilla’s Red Plum

Ludmilla’s Red Plum comes from a Kazakh family who immigrated to Germany.  The family had been growing out this variety for over 50 years.  It will produce an incredible amount (7 per truss) of smooth tasting fruit that weigh up to 9 oz. (255g).  This tomato is not a paste variety. Every year I think that I will not grow it again, but then I still do, hmm.

Maya & Sion’s Airdrie Classic

Heirloom tomato varieties we grow in a northern garden - Maya & Sion’s Airdrie Classic

A cross of a late large pink beefsteak- Brandywine, and an early red- Stupice, the best combination of earliness and flavor.  It is named after Caseys heirloom tomatoes son and daughter. 170g-400g, red oblate fruits with ribbing are produced on trusses of 4 to 8.

If we had to chose just one variety, we would not be able to. But we could stick to four favorites. But than again, I would miss fermenting the Matina and the beautiful Yellow Canary, hmm.

What a richness did God put into tomatoes – colors, tastes, smells – Thank you God!

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The Easiest Way to Preserve Tomatoes

How to Freeze Tomatoes - The easiest way to preserve tomatoes

How to Freeze Tomatoes - The easiest way to preserve tomatoes
Sometimes there are more tomatoes then we can eat or have time to preserve. Not to worry! The easiest way ever to preserve tomatoes is by freezing them.

How to freeze tomatoes

They just need a quick rinse and then go into a freezer bag, whole as they are, and into the deep freezer. The easiest way to preserve tomatoes!

How to use frozen tomatoes

Take as many as needed  for the recipe out of the freezer bag. Do not let them thaw first or it will be a mushy mess! Rinse them with warm running water, the skin will come right off. Now they can be cut in to pieces, or be blended in a blender.

How to Freeze Tomatoes - The easiest way to preserve tomatoes

How to Freeze Tomatoes - The easiest way to preserve tomatoes

Frozen tomatoes will be more watery than fresh tomatoes, but are great for soups and tomato sauces.

How to Freeze Tomatoes - The easiest way to preserve tomatoes

A fresh tomato soup or sauce in the middle of winter, delicious!

You may also like the Oven roasted Tomato Sauce or Homemade Tomato Salsa. We invite you to subscribe to NorthernHomestead and follow us on Facebook or Pinterest for more great recipes.

 


Canning Homemade Tomato Salsa

Canning Homemade Tomato Salsa
Canning Homemade Tomato Salsa

From the moment I plant the very first tomato seeds (when it is still snowing) I look forward to harvesting the ripe tomatoes, biting in, and savoring the taste … Yummy! We grow many tomatoes, so we can enjoy them right from the vine, in salads, meals, and in homemade salsa.

We love homemade salsa and go through many jars every year. The recipe we have is from my friend Ruth. I don’t know where she got it from, but it’s a really good one. Ruth is a good friend and her salsa is so yummy, so why not call it Ruth’s Salsa.

Canning Homemade Tomato Salsa

Canning homemade tomato salsa is a bit of a chore, but so worth it. Beside I have great helpers. The VitaMix Blender is always my big helper, it chops garlic and herbs in seconds. The dishwasher sterilises jars on its own, and instead of a water bath we place the jars on an baking sheet and heat them in the oven on 200°F for 1 hour, it always worked fine and is way easier.

Canning Homemade Tomato Salsa

Let’s get started!

Canning Homemade Tomato Salsa

Canning Ruth's Homemade Tomato Salsa
 
Author:
Serves: Makes 8-10 500 ml jars
Ingredients
  • 7 lbs of tomatoes (approx. 30)
  • 2 cups of finely chopped celery
  • 2 large green peppers, finely chopped
  • 2 large sweet red peppers, chopped
  • 2 cups of chopped onions
  • 1 small red chili pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 large, mild jalapeno peppers, finely diced
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 can (114 ml) green chilies, drained and chopped (I go without)
  • 1 can (369 ml) tomato paste
  • 2-3 drops hot pepper sauce (I used red hot pepper instead)
  • ¾ cup vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. pickling salt
  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves or fresh parsley
Instructions
  1. Blanch tomatoes in boiling water, rinse in cold water, and remove peels. Coarsely chop tomatoes and strain them for a while so the salsa is not so liquid. Place tomatoes in a large heavy saucepan. Add all remaining ingredients except the garlic and cilantro, simmer for ½ hour.
  2. Place the garlic and cilantro in a blender with some liquid from the salsa and blend for a few seconds, add to the salsa at the end of the cooking time.
  3. Ladle sauce into prepared pint (500 ml jars), filling to ½ inch from top. Clean jar rims and threads. Cover immediately with lids and screw bands.
  4. Place in boiling water bath. Process for 25 minutes. Remove jars from water and cool. Check seals. (Instead of the water bath we placed the jars on an baking sheet and heat in the oven on 200°F for 1 hour, it always worked fine and is way easier)

Yummy!

Canning Homemade Tomato Salsa

You want to learn cunning at home? Canning isn’t as complicated as it sounds. This DVD will show you just how fun and easy preserving your foods can be!

At Home Canning For Beginners and Beyond: DVD

We invite you to subscribe to NorthernHomestead and follow us on Facebook or Pinterest for more yummy recipes.

Transplanting Tomato Plants into the Ground

Transplanting tomatoes in the ground

Transplanting tomatoes in the ground

It is always a very exciting day when my tomato plants can finally go into the ground! I start all the seeds indoors. We grow mainly heirloom tomato varieties.

When to plant tomatoes out

Tomatoes are a warm weather crop; they do not tolerate frost and do not like cold, wet weather either. When tomatoes are planted into the garden it is best to wait till the last frost day or, even better, a week longer. Or, if you really want to be early, give them some frost protection.

The best place to grow tomatoes in a northern garden is a greenhouse. Here they can be planted a bit earlier but still might need frost protection.

Transplanting tomatoes in the ground

Preparing the soil

Tomatoes can be grown in the same spot year after year, but they do need nutrients. Compost, fully composted manure, and Epson salt are good for feeding tomatoes. Compost is rich in nutrients and beneficial micro-organisms and also improves soil texture. Epson salt adds minerals.
The soil has to be nice and soft and, of course, warm. Clear plastic can help with this.

Transplanting tomatoes in the ground

Harden the plants

Plants can’t go from indoors right into the ground; it will put way too much stress on them. First get them used to the outdoor or greenhouse environment while still in the pot. Starting with a few hours in the shade and then leaving them for longer and they will get used to their new location. Now they can be transplanted without being killed in the process.

Transplanting tomatoes in the ground

Spacing tomato plants

Indeterminate varieties can be grown vertically and need about a foot to a foot and a half space if pruned to a single stem. Determinate varieties will grow to a bush and usually need about three feet in diameter. Tomatoes like airflow, so do not plant too closely together.

Transplanting tomatoes in the ground

Transplanting tomato plants

Dig a bigger hole than the plant is – it helps to loosen the soil all around the plant and encourages root growth. Add 1-2 cups manure to the hole before planting (I use sheep manure). The manure will give the plants a boost. The opinions about using manure in the garden are divided. Some claim that manure only makes the plant greener. But we grow great fruit with it. If the soil is very dry, like it usually is in a greenhouse, water the hole. If the plant is a bit leggy it can be buried deeper just like by transplanting the seedlings. By very leggy plants you can even lay the plant down to be able to bury more of the stem.

Transplanting tomatoes in the ground

Be sure not to water the plant to much before transplanting so it holds better together. By turning the pot upside down and tapping on the pot, the plant will come right out. Now place it gently into the hole and fill the hole with loose soil. Do not press it down too hard but water the plant right away; the water will push the soil down as much as needed. It is good to make a mold around the plant for watering, so that the water can go directly to the plant and not flow away to lower ground.

Transplanting tomatoes in the ground

Protecting tomato plants

Give the plants some protection from the sun during the first days, a Frost Blankets works very well. It also gives some protection from wind and cold during the night. I leave the blanket on for at least three days.

Transplanting tomatoes in the ground

Now, I like to say a prayer for my plants. I am very aware that I can do only as much as I can. God is the one who gives growth and provides fruit, why not ask him?! Then sit back and watch the plants grow and produce lots of fruits!
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