Nutritional veggies for SHTF part 3 Highlander “Survival & Tech Preps“ Audio player provided! I have talked about some meat and some veggies and general nutrition for shtf in the previous episodes. I continue my last show in this series of nutrition with a few more veggies to talk about, what you should be eating … Continue reading Nutritional veggies for SHTF part 3
Tomatoes are the second most-consumed vegetable in the United States today, but just 200 years ago, people throughout the U.S. had not even heard of them. Many gardeners even thought they were poisonous.
So, how did the tomato transition from obscure to popular?
This week on Off The Grid Radio we’re discussing everything you didn’t know about tomatoes, including ways you can harvest better-looking and better-tasting ones – without yellow leaves! Our guest is Craig LeHoullier, the author of “Epic Tomatoes: How to Select And Grow The Best Varieties of All Time.”
Craig shares with us the most common mistakes made by gardeners when growing tomatoes.
He tells us the fascinating history but he also tells us:
- Why some tomato varieties need pruned — and some do not.
- How to stop tomato leaves from spotting and yellowing.
- Why he prefers heirloom varieties over hybrids.
- Which type of fertilizers work best for tomatoes.
- Why tomatoes grown in buckets can be even healthier than ones grown in the ground.
Craig also tells us the easiest ways to stop fungus problems before they start. If you have a garden and you’re growing tomatoes, then this is one show you don’t want to miss!
They are the pride of summer gardeners and the mainstay of many Italian dishes. They also add texture and flavor to sandwiches. People all over the world love tomatoes. In fact, contrary to what you might expect, China reigns as the top tomato producer with 34 tons each year.
Believed to have originated in Mexico, the tomato is the fruit of the plant with the botanical name Lycopersicon esculentum. Although they are most frequently recognized for their bright red color, tomatoes can come in yellow, orange, pink, green, purple, brown and even black. They also vary greatly in size and shape, from the large beefsteak to the tiny cherry size.
Although they are technically a fruit, tomatoes are often prepared and served as a vegetable. They have a slightly bitter and acidic taste that becomes rich and warm when cooked. However you choose to consume them, tomatoes are one of the world’s healthiest foods.
Here are seven health benefits tomatoes can provide.
1. Heart and blood health – Tomatoes are rich in potassium, which helps maintain your body’s nervous system and which is associated with a reduced risk of stroke. They’re also rich in iron, which is important for healthy blood. In addition, tomatoes are abundant sources of Vitamin K, which is necessary for blood clotting and for bleeding control.
The folic acid in tomatoes helps regulate your body’s homocysteine levels, which help lower your risk of heart disease.
The lycopene in tomatoes also offers protection against cardiovascular diseases. The regular consumption of tomatoes has been linked with lower levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and of lower levels of triglycerides in the blood.
Consuming a tomato daily also reduces your risk of developing hypertension, or high blood pressure. As a vasodilator, potassium helps reduce the tension in blood vessels and arteries, helping to improve circulation and lowering the stress on the heart.
2. Vision – The rich content of Vitamin A in tomatoes contributes to eye health. As a powerful antioxidant, Vitamin A helps prevent night blindness and macular degeneration.
The lycopene, lutein and beta-carotene in tomatoes help protect your eyes from developing cataracts.
3. Digestion — Tomatoes are loaded with fiber and water, both of which can help you have regular bowel movements. Eating tomatoes helps prevent jaundice and works to remove toxins from the body.
4. Diabetes — The high fiber content of tomatoes is beneficial for people who have diabetes. A Journal of the American Medical Association study found that people who consumed tomatoes on a daily basis had a reduced risk of the oxidative stress associated with Type 2 diabetes.
Other research indicates that people with Type 1 diabetes who eat high-fiber diets have lower blood glucose levels, and people with Type 2 diabetes may experience improved blood sugar and insulin levels.
5. Skin – Eating tomatoes regularly also may help your skin. Vitamin C consumption is associated with protection from exposure to potential damage from sunlight, pollution and smoke. Your skin, hair and nails are all reliant on vitamin C to remain strong and healthy.
6. Urinary system – Because of the antioxidants they contain and their high-water content, tomatoes can help prevent urinary tract infections. The regular consumption of tomatoes also can help maintain a healthy gallbladder.
7. Cancer – A single tomato can provide you with 40 percent of your daily Vitamin C requirement. As a natural antioxidant, Vitamin C may help protect against certain forms of cancer. In addition, the lycopene in tomatoes may help prevent prostate cancer, stomach cancer, cervical cancer and pharynx and esophageal cancers.
The high presence of vitamin A in tomatoes can offer some protection against lung cancer. Additionally, tomatoes contain coumaric acid and chlorogenic acid, which can help protect the body from carcinogens produced from second-hand cigarette smoke.
8. Bone health — Tomatoes contain calcium and Vitamin K, both of which contribute to strong bones and bone tissue.
Of course, there always can be a case of too much of a good thing. People who have gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) may experience heartburn and regurgitation after eating tomatoes, largely due to their high acidic content.
Also, tomatoes, especially cherry tomatoes, are high on the list of foods that frequently are sprayed with chemicals by non-organic farmers. Because of that, the Environmental Working Group suggests that you purchase organic tomatoes or grow your own tomatoes organically.
Are you wondering how you can add more tomatoes to your family’s diet? Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Make a Caprese salad with fresh tomato slices, mozzarella cheese and a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Top with fresh basil.
- Spread smashed tomatoes on sandwiches instead of butter or mayo.
- Scramble chopped tomatoes into eggs or use them to top an omelet.
- Roast tomatoes in the oven along with potatoes or veggies.
- Make your own fresh tomato sauce.
- Stir-fry tomatoes on the stove.
- Add sliced tomatoes to a grilled cheese sandwich.
- Add fresh tomatoes to your next smoothie instead of water.
Have you discovered other ways tomatoes can benefit your health? Share your tips in the section below:
Tomatoes are one of those things that just about everyone – from the most novice of gardeners to the most experienced – likes to grow.
So, it’s no wonder that new varieties are constantly being bred and that everyone and their neighbor has advice on how to grow the biggest, juiciest and most delicious tomatoes on the block.
We have combed through the advice and found seven of the best tips for getting an amazing tomato harvest this year:
Tip No. 1: Choose indeterminate varieties
If you are growing tomatoes in a compact space such as an apartment balcony, then you may want to choose determinate tomatoes, as these plants are compact and will stop growing once fruit begins to appear.
But if you’ve got the space and you’re looking for a big yield, it is best to choose indeterminate varieties, as they will continue growing and producing fruit throughout the season.
Tip No. 2: Plant horizontally
Especially for the new gardener, this tip may sound counterintuitive. But whether you have bought a plant from a nursery or whether you are transplanting your own seedlings, tomatoes do better when they have been planted in the ground horizontally.
To do this, dig a shallow trench and lay the seedling on its side, covering up all but the top leaves. (Remember to strip off any leaves on the parts of the stem that you are burying.)
Following this advice will help your tomato plant develop a bigger root ball – and that means more tomatoes for you!
Tip No. 3: Side-dress with compost
Side-dressing is simply adding more nutrients (fertilizer or compost) around your plants. Once your plants start to flower, side-dress them with about two inches of compost and the next time it rains or when you water your plants, nutrients from the compost will be carried to the roots.
You can repeat this process every three weeks or so.
Tip No. 4: Use seaweed
To be at their best, tomato plants require a lot of nutrients – and if you want to garden organically, then seaweed fertilizer is a good option. Seaweed contains nitrogen and many other important minerals such as iron, zinc and potassium. Fertilize your plants with a diluted seaweed or kelp solution every other week and it will help stimulate growth and fend off disease.
Seaweed also can be used as a mulch near the bottom of your tomato plants. Keep in mind, however, that as it dries out it will shrink to about a quarter of its original size – so four inches of mulch will give you one inch once it has dried out. An advantage to using seaweed as a mulch is that because of its saltiness, it acts as a natural slug repellent.
Tip No. 5: Keep young plants warm
Tomato plants that are exposed to temperatures below 55 degrees Fahrenheit will not produce fruit. If you find you’ve planted your seedlings a bit too early, or if you get some surprise cool nighttime weather, protect your plants with row covers overnight until the weather warms up.
If you do not have row covers, you can improvise using some tomato cages and old blankets. Just be sure to uncover again in the morning.
Tip No. 6: Harvest regularly
The moment of truth in tomato gardening comes when the delicious fruit begins to ripen. Once it appears that you are close to getting a ripe tomato, check the vines every few days and harvest as necessary.
This will help your plants to produce higher yields because the plant’s energy will be focussed on producing new fruit rather than on tomatoes that are already ripe.
Tip No. 7: Rotate your crops
To help keep your plants free of disease, you should wait at least three years before planting them again in the same spot. Tomatoes can be rotated with unrelated crops like lettuce, beans and corn. They should not be rotated with other members of the nightshade family like potatoes, eggplants or peppers.
What tips would you add to our list? Share your thoughts in the section below:
Do you want to grow the best tomatoes in taste and size? And want to have a bumper harvest? Then put these things in the hole before planting your tomato plant!
The homegrown TOMATOES are so delicious, and when you pick them fresh and eat, the delightful taste you get is just unmatchable. Better than store bought fruits. The thick, juicy, plump, sweet, a bit acrid and so satiating– the tomatoes are one of the first fruits (vegetable, if you say) everyone wants to grow from the beginning of the gardening season.
1. Baking Soda
It works and really a good trick (especially when you’re growing tomatoes in containers) if you want sweeter tomatoes. Simply sprinkle a small amount of baking soda around the base of your tomato plants. The baking soda will be absorbed into the soil and lower the acidity levels, thus, giving you tomatoes that are more sweet than tart.
2. Fish heads
Fish heads have been used as a natural fertilizer in the garden for a long time. Their popularity with tomato planting is not a myth that needs to be busted. It works! Their decay releases nitrogen, potassium, many essential trace elements, calcium and phosphorous. The only problem with burying fish heads is that critters may dig them up. To avoid this, bury deeply, at least a foot. You can drop them into the hole whole or use groundfish scraps which you can mix with water(2 cups) and milk(1 cup) for a supercharge solution. If you want to read more on this, here’s an article in detail!
Drop 2-3 aspirin tablets in the hole either whole or ground; this is to boost plant immunity, it also helps to ward off diseases like blight and increases the yield. The salicylic acid, a compound in aspirin is the reason why it works. You can also spray plants with the solution contain this drug.
Eggshells boost the calcium content in the soil. And just like us, Calcium is one of the most important components that plant needs for growth. Here’s a very educative article if you like to read, it also helps to prevent blossom end rot. Whether you’re planting tomatoes in the garden bed or containers, you can always put eggshells before planting.
5. Epsom Salt
Tomatoes suffer from magnesium deficiency that is why it’s a good idea to add 1 or 2 tablespoons of Epsom salt while transplanting the seedling in the bottom of the planting hole (both in containers or garden bed). Cover this with a thin layer of soil; this is to make sure that roots are not directly touching Epsom salt.
6. Kelp Meal
Kelp meal is rich in micro-nutrients and trace elements. It provides complete nutrient for plants, the addition of kelp gives tomatoes a turbo boosted start. Slow-release kelp fertilizer contains the tomato with sufficient nutrient over a period which prevents the plant from experiencing shock as is with the use of excess fertilizers. One cup-full of kelp meal is adequate for the plant at the time of planting. If you want to read more about kelp fertilizer, click here!
7. Bone Meal
Similar to kelp meal, bone meal is also an addition to the tomato hole during planting. A handful or cup-full of bone meal is essential for a blossoming and quality fruits of the tomato plant since it provides the much-needed phosphorus nutrient which is one of the most vital components for healthy tomato growth.
8. Used coffee grounds
Add well-composted coffee grounds to the planting hole when transplanting tomato seedlings to improve soil composition and provide a source of slow-release nutrients to your plants. It is an excellent source of fertilizer and can be used even as a mulch.
Source : balconygardenweb.com
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The post Put These 8 Things in Your TOMATO Planting Hole For The Best Tomatoes Ever appeared first on .
It’s nearly winter, which means skunk families will be moving in close to food supplies. This means your chicken coop, sheds and barn. With these stinky creatures so close, it’s a matter of time before the family dog gets sprayed or worse yet, the person who startles them. Knowing how to effectively remove skunk odor will come in handy.
When outside I’ve seen skunks just leaving the chicken yard. I always make sure to give them plenty of leeway, but sometimes the farm dog doesn’t!
Buddy was a chocolate lab we had several years ago. Bless his heart — he loved everything and everybody. We often found him loving up and protecting fawns, calves and rabbits. He even tried to love a skunk … once.
He saw it leaving the barn and went to check it out. Maybe he thought it was a cat. Anyway, he did his best “let’s be friends” routine but was only rewarded with a dastardly dose of skunk spray. I just couldn’t stop him in time.
Did I mention Buddy slept indoors? Well, I couldn’t wait for the smell to wear off, so I turned to the time-honored remedy of my family.
We’ve used raw, organic apple cider vinegar on our homestead for all kinds of things. This was the first time in many, many years we had to use it to remove skunk odor, but I was sure glad we keep it made and on hand for just such an occasion.
You can use straight apple cider vinegar (ACV) and rinse your dog well immediately. Be aware, though, that ACV may burn sensitive skin. If your dog has this problem, then you should use a dilution of two parts water to one part ACV. Be careful around the face, as it will burn the eyes and nose.
Wear clothes you don’t mind getting dirty (and smelly). You can soak the clothes in white vinegar or ACV for a few hours and wash with hot water to remove the odor. It may take more than one soaking, depending on the how strong the oils from the spray are.
Wet your dog thoroughly before applying ACV or the ACV dilution. Work it through the hair and saturate to the skin. Let it sit on the dog for at least five minutes before rinsing well. If the dog was close enough to the skunk for the oils to be concentrated in the spray, you may have to repeat a second time.
I like to learn everything I can from old-timers. I could sit and sip coffee all day while they share their experiences with me. One of my favorites, Mr. Ted, shared how he would remove skunk odor after I told him about Buddy’s run-in with the stinky-stripped scoundrel.
Here is his recipe:
Mix thoroughly in a jug or bucket:
- 1 quart hydrogen peroxide – 3 percent or higher
- ¼ cup baking soda
- 1 teaspoon liquid dish soap
Wet your dog thoroughly, and then apply the mixture to saturate to the skin. Let it sit for at least five minutes and rinse well. You may have to repeat if the oils are concentrated.
As with ACV, be careful around the face. This solution has to be mixed just before you use it.
Remove Skunk Odor From Yourself
Both of these recipes for removing skunk odor will work on people and clothes. I’ve never been sprayed and hope to never be, but if I were, I would certainly use one of these to remove skunk odor from myself.
We’ve all been told to use tomato juice, lemon or orange juice. These don’t work as well. Tomato juice may be slightly effective, but it would take several baths to make any real difference. Can you imagine how much tomato juice it would take to coat a dog or cover a human body multiple times?
I hope you never have to use either of these to remove skunk odor but if you do, at least you’ll be prepared and effective.
What recipes have you used to remove skunk odor? Share your tips in the section below:
Knowing how to forage and select edible plants from your yard and surrounding areas is a vital skill for a survivalist, but it’s not necessarily an easy one to master. That’s because, though many backyard edible and highly nutritious plants grow all around us, some have poisonous look alikes.
Mistake poison hemlock for wild carrots, for example, and you may find yourself on your deathbed, which will not be the first time that’s happened to someone. Most places try to keep poison hemlock under control, since it’s also toxic to animals, but other common foraging mistakes are easy to make.
Here are a few essential things you need to know about plants when you hunt for a meal in the underbrush.
The Right Rhubarb
Rhubarb is very familiar, even among urban dwellers, because many people put it in strawberry pies and jams. What many may not know is that people typically eat only the stems.
That’s not just because the stem tastes better than other parts of the plant, but also because rhubarb contains oxalic acid, a toxin that’s most prevalent in the leaves.
You wouldn’t normally have to worry about the amount of oxalic acid in rhubarb, even in the denser leaves, but when food is scarce, steady consumption of the leaves, even at moderate levels, would cause illness.
About 11 pounds of leaves can be fatal for a 145-pound person and far less than that could provoke serious illness.
You Say Tomato
Tomatoes come in many shapes and sizes, and in color may be anywhere from green to purple, depending on the variety and ripeness. But you should be familiar with their toxic copycat, horse nettle.
Like many of the members of the nightshade family, horse nettles are poisonous to humans. Though they’re not likely to kill you, horse nettles can lead to stomach problems and heart and respiratory issues when consumed, so skip those maybe-tomatoes in favor of a plant you’re more certain is safe to eat.
Berries are among the most dangerous — and the trickiest — potential edibles out there, partly because there are so many kinds of them. Sure, even little kids know they should avoid the red berries on their neighbor’s bushes, but what about beautiful purple pokeberries?
Pokeberries grow from a remarkably bright pink stem, which sets them apart, but seen in isolation, they closely resemble blueberries. However, just a handful of pokeberries can kill a child, and since we often eat delicious berries by the bushel, even adults can too easily swallow a lot of this tempting fruit.
The same goes for wild cherries, an appealing but toxic version of a summer favorite. In general, beware of berries, especially if you haven’t picked them yourself.
Roasted Over Fire
Chestnuts! What a lovely tradition: a meaty nut roasted during the holidays and shared with family. While these nuts have a special place in the compendium of Americana, the same isn’t the case for buckeye.
The best way to distinguish poisonous buckeyes from other nuts is by cracking them all the way open. Buckeyes cause confusion primarily when foragers aren’t sufficiently skeptical.
From the outside they look like chestnuts, which is to say shiny, and from the inside they look more like walnuts or pecans, with a lot of texture. If the nut doesn’t match one you know all the way through, toss it; it’s probably a buckeye.
It’s essential to practice foraging when you’re not in a crisis situation; that is, when you have the leisure time to do some research on the plants involved. Learn about what grows near your home, and commit what you learn to memory.
Some of the worst mistakes come from assuming a familiar plant grows nearby, when only its lookalike is common to your region.
One of our favorite things to do every year is try out a few new plants in the garden. Whether it’s a new variety of an heirloom tomato or a fiery hot pepper, it’s always fun to see what new taste will
The post 4 Big Winning Plant Varieties From Our 2016 Garden Trials appeared first on Old World Garden Farms.
It is never more gratifying to be a gardener than when luscious ripe tomatoes are rolling off the plants and into our kitchens. For most of us, though, there are often far more tomatoes than we can eat at the time. After slicing, sautéing, roasting, making salads and salsa, adding to pizza and ratatouille and grilled burgers, and filling the freezer with sauce, there is only option left.
It is time to can tomatoes. People have been canning tomatoes for long enough that everyone and their great-grandmother—and I do mean that literally—has strong opinions on how it should be done. Some folks use strictly paste tomatoes, meaning only those varieties developed specifically for use in homemade sauces. Others use any varieties of tomatoes at all, from commercial or traditional to heirloom, in all shapes and sizes.
There is no single correct answer when it comes to the best tomato varieties for canning. The primary difference is that paste types usually have less water content and therefore require less reduction for sauces and ketchup. Taste, texture and personal preference are factors that matter.
The thing about canning tomatoes is that there are a lot of choices, not the least of which is whether to use a pressure canner or a boiling water bath canner. And the right answer to this question is that both methods are correct.
This is unusual. For almost every other food, there is only one right choice. All vegetable, meats and seafood products need to be pressure-canned for safety. And while fruits can be processed using a pressure canner, it would diminish the quality of the product.
So why can tomatoes go either way? To explain, let me first talk about acid. The value of various foods are either very acidic—which registers very low numbers on the pH scale—or very neutral and registering very high pH numbers.
Almost all fruits range from 3.0 to 4.0 and are considered to be high acid. Vegetables range from 4.8 to 7.0 and are considered to be low acid.
And then there are tomatoes. The average tomato sits at 4.6, right on the cusp of high acid versus low acid. In this sentence, “average” is the key word. If the average is at 4.6, that means there are some varieties that are a tad more acidic, and a few—particularly some of the heirloom types—that are a little less acidic.
Therefore, the safety rule with tomatoes is to acidify them. By adding a little acidic content to every jar of canned tomatoes, we can be absolutely sure that they are adequately acid. Just a tablespoon of lemon juice or ¼ teaspoon of citric acid per pint of tomatoes does the trick. It is super easy, inexpensive and does not affect the taste of the finished product.
It may sound as if it is alright to skip the acidification step—adding the lemon juice or citric acid—if you are pressure canning, but that is not the case. Acid needs to be added with both processes, and here is why: The directions and processing times for both canning methods have been tested using acidified tomatoes. If you do not use added acid, the processing times given may not be adequate.
The major difference in canning tomatoes using the boiling water bath method versus pressure canning is processing time.
For example, tomatoes packed in water take 40-50 minutes (depending upon the size of the jars) in a boiling water bath canner and only 10 minutes in a pressure canner. Tomatoes with no added liquid take a whopping 85 minutes in a boiling water bath canner and 25 minutes in a pressure canner. With crushed tomatoes, there is a huge time difference as well—35 to 45 minutes versus 15 minutes.
However, there is more than just processing time to consider. Using a pressure canner involves 10 minutes of venting, several minutes to build pressure, and more time to depressurize after processing. When you add it up, the actual time differences are less dramatic.
So why use a pressure canner for tomatoes? Many people say it is about the quality of the finished food. Pressure canned tomatoes often have brighter colors and flavors, retaining more of that tart zing that only a fresh backyard tomato can pack.
Either way, there are some basics to go by. Following is a synopsis, although complete step-by-step directions can be found either in Ball’s Blue Book Guide to Preserving, which can be purchased for under $10 at most stores, or accessed free online at the National Center for Home Food Preservation.
Prepare your supplies. Wash and rinse jars and lids, and keep warm. Assemble equipment: canner, jar lifter, funnel and headspace tool.
- Peel tomatoes by dipping in scalding water until skin loosens, plunge in ice water to make them cool enough to handle, and pull skins off. Trim ends. Cut or crush as needed for recipe.
- Prepare your canner and heat the water to simmering.
- Add lemon juice or citric acid to each jar.
- Pack tomatoes according to recipe: crushed, whole or halved packed in water or tomato juice, or whole or halved with no liquid added. Add salt if desired.
- Remove air bubbles, wipe rims, and adjust lids to finger tight.
- Process in either boiling water bath canner or pressure canner, following times and procedures for the one you are using.
Processing times cannot safely be mixed and matched. It will not work to use pressure canning times in a boiling water bath canner, or to go with times given for whole tomatoes with added liquid for crushed tomatoes. If using the boiling water bath method for whole tomatoes, follow that recipe to the letter.
I have canned many tomatoes and have used very nearly all of the permutations—with liquid and without, whole and crushed, boiling water bath or pressure canner processed. I admit that I do not have a single go-to way of doing it. An hour and 25 minutes is a long process time, but once it’s boiling, I can set it and forget it. Pressure-canned tomatoes do seem a little tastier, but it is more of a multi-step process than a boiling water bath. Crushed tomatoes are easier to pack into jars, but require more prep work and yield a product that I tend to use less in recipes. Most years, I do a variety.
Even though it seems a little more complicated at the outset, tomatoes are the perfect food for canning and are just right for those who prefer a wide variety of methods. And as long as you use an approved recipe, there is no wrong way to can garden-fresh tomatoes.
What canning advice would you add? Share your tips and secrets in the section below:
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