Growing the Best Tomatoes

Every summer home gardeners under take on the annual project of growing tomatoes and despite challenges many come back to the project year after year. Why? Simply because the product is so much better than what is available in stores. Growing tomatoes is not without its challenges, if you have tried before and not been happy with the: yields, fruit quality, or flavor – may I present a yard gadget to you: The “Tomato Success Kit” from Gardeners.com found here. For even the most inexperienced of gardeners this kit results in huge numbers of tomatoes, even growth, even watering, and minimal issues.

The set up is simple, it consists of several elements designed to minimize common tomato growing challenges:
– In the bottom of what looks to be the opt above is a reservoir that you fill from the side – this means water is not hitting your plants. Watering from below minimizes growth of funguses and issues like leathery leaves.
– The reservoir is separated from the soil (a peat moss like substance) by a permeable plastic barrier that the plant roots grow through. This approach ensures better and more even uptake of water reducing issues like blossom end rot.
– The soil is designed to retain and evenly distribute the maximum amount of moisture combine with a good organic fertilizer this maximizes plat growth.
– The plants are sounded by a 4 sided boxed cage which gives them structure as they rapidly grow, extra cages can be added or indeterminate varietals.
– You can order soil refill and fertilizer packs so that the kit can be reused season after season.

If you are curious about growing tomatoes, or have tried in the past and been unhappy with your results this “Tomato Success kit” is the way to go.

Oh and one parting thought – I find growing smaller cherry style tomatoes is easier if you live in hot climates.

Happy Growing!

7 tips to get the yard ready for the growing season.

For those of us that live in a climate where winter means frost and snow it maybe be hard to believe but now is the time to start thinking about yard care. Getting your yard ready for spring and the spring growing season now with a few hours of yard work will help you to get a jump on the season ahead, and have your yard looking like the best on the block.

1.) Clear the debris around your plants, by allowing the earlier sprouts to see light rather than grow through a bed of dead leaves or pine needles you’ll begin to invigorate plants earlier in the growing season.

2.) Trim back bushes that need it, ornamental shrubs, and grasses – if that was not done in the fall.

3.) Rake your lawn, nothing too serious but get a
light weight metal rake
, like this one and remove all the accumulated winter debris from your lawn, this will speed up greening, allow more air to the roots and get your lawn off on the right foot.

4.) About a month before your average last frost aerate the lawn, turn on sprinklers and begin the process of watering your lawn.

5.) Shortly after aeration over seed your lawn and fill in bare patches – make sure to use the same type of grass.

6.) As trees begin to bud or leaf-out give them a deep soaking water to make sure that the roots have the moisture needed as growth commences.

7.) Leaf-out is also the ideal time to fertilize trees if you plan to do so this will provide them with added nutrients to help spur growth.

Following these simple tips will get your yard off to a good start this growing season regardless of when it finally starts.

Kitchen Gadget: 2-in-1 Digital Scale & Measuring Cup

My favorite kitchen gadgets are the products that pull double duty, saving us time and effort, or in this case reducing mistakes and saving space. In one of our early #LifeHack articles we talked about the myriad of uses for plain White Vinegar from cleaning your dishwasher to descaling a kettle. Multi-use items and kitchen gadgets will be a them here, the tool we are highlighting today: Taylor Digital Scale with Measuring Cup is both measuring cup and digital scale, saving you time, space, and in some cases math.

All joking aside the real advantage though as those of us who spend a lot of time in the kitchen know, is that measuring simply by volume is not completely effective. Doing so sometimes results in rough numbers and in cases where precision is key – small errors. Those errors also ignore a big pet-peeve of mine frequently needing to do the English to Metric conversion in your head. This is a place I often go wrong, especially when I am in a hurry. Investing in a tool like the Taylor Digital Scale with Measuring Cup which is able to look at both weight & volume at the same time cuts down errors will result in better food. Another nice advantage of something like the 2-in-1 measuring cup and scale is the ability to switch between Metric, English, and Volume measurements on the fly – this again reduces mistakes and makes better food.

One other “nice to have” feature in tools like this 2-in-1 is that they reduce clutter, needs for storage space and stow away more simply than single use tools. This may seem like a small benefit if you live in a large house in Dallas but in a small apartment in Ney York City getting that space back is a nice added bonus.