An easy, proven way to save you money while
providing good nutrition for your family!
You don't think you have a green thumb?
That's OK--you don't really need one!
Just a little knowledge and info to get you
Those of us who live in rural areas have a
decided advantage over city and apartment
dwellers. We can nearly always find room
for a vegetable garden even if it's a small
But even if you don't have an acre or two of
land to play with, don't despair! You can still
supplement your grocery budget with fresh
veggies grown in a container garden--even if
the only space you have is on your patio!
Tomatoes are about the easiest vegetables
to grow. They come in all sizes: from bite-size
cherry tomatoes to great big beefsteak
tomatoes. And tastewise, store-bought
tomatoes just can't compare to vine-ripened!
The first step to starting a container garden is
to locate your container. You can use almost
anything. A half-barrel, the kind you see for
sale at garden centers, works great. You may
have plastic buckets already on hand and these
can work, too.
If you use buckets, usually one plant to each
bucket is enough. And keep in mind, one plant can
produce a lot of tomatoes!
Just put a layer of rocks in the bottom of your
chosen container for drainage. Then fill with
quality potting soil about 2/3 thirds of the way
Tomatoes are best grown from seedlings. Most
garden centers, discount stores, and even some
grocery stores have these in stock in the spring.
Remove the plant from the plastic pot it comes in
by squeezing the bottom of the pot to loosen the
soil and gently lift it from the pot. Carefully
loosen the roots a little as sometimes they tend
to be a little root-bound in the small pots.
Dig a hole a little bigger than your plant ball and
just set your tomato into the hole right up to the
leaves and fill all around with more potting soil.
Of course, you must water the plants to make them
grow! Your tomato plants will respond well to regular
feeding. Apply a liquid fertilizer once a week.
Once your plants are larger, you may need to stake
them; however, if you are growing the "bush" variety,
they won't need to be staked.
Once your plants are bearing, you may find yourself
with a surplus. Whole tomatoes can be frozen for use
later on in soups and casseroles. Just wash and put
in sealed plastic bags and place in freezer. When
you're ready to use them, let them thaw partway so
the skin can come off and they're ready to go in the
If you prefer to freeze your tomatoes already chopped,
just dip each tomato in boiling water for about 10
seconds. Then the peel will pull right off. Chop the
tomato, put in bags and freeze.
Here's a good vegetable soup recipe for using frozen
1 1/2 cups frozen chopped tomatoes
1 can new potatoes, drained and chopped
1 can sliced carrots, drained
1 large can tomato sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1 3/4 cups beef broth
Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes, to let flavors mingle.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Reprinted with permission.
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