In this video Ernie shows how to plant vegetables in your raised bed gardens:
- Soil for the raised bed
- Mixing up the soil so it’s ready for planting
- Marking your rows before planting
- Strategy for capturing the most sunlight
In this video Ernie shows how to plant vegetables in your raised bed gardens:
In this video Ernie shows how to get started with raised bed gardening:
In this part 2 video Ernies shows you step by step how to plant tomatoes in pots:
In this video Ernie demonstrates step by step his method of preparing and planting tomatoes in pots or containers:
Non-member access to Planting Tomatoes in Pots – Part 1: $4
In this podcast Ernie outlines how to get started growing tomatoes and explains the important initial decisions you need to make before you plant:
Non-member access to First Decisions To Make Before Planting Tomatoes: $3
One of the most off putting things for those wishing to start gardening, but on a low budget is that they may be put off by the cost of by the perceived cost of starting to garden. Fortunately, gardening doesn’t have to be an expensive hobby to get started in and is relatively cheap.
Whether you have little space or money, you’ll be fine in the garden – so, let’s take a look at some beginners tips to ease you into your green fingered ways.
A lot of equipment can be got second hand and also very cheaply. In fact, in a lot of cases people will be only too happy to get rid of it when cleaning the clutter from their sheds or garages. Sites such as Freecycle and others can be great places for picking things up. That said, your own rubbish can double up as useful in the garden. For instance, old sinks, pots and trash cans are all useful in the garden area and can also look quite attractive. Alternatively, most big shops do a range of low cost equipment that will do the trick.
Compost is also very easy to make and you can do so with a lot of the left overs that you have and usually recycle. These can be added to a compost heap and then will end up turning into compost with a little help from you and Mother Nature.
Seeds are also easy to come across and if you have green fingers you can also grow plants from cuttings. EBay can be a good place for specific seeds and newspapers and magazines can also throw up some great finds.
Cheap plants are the best for beginners – something that can be considered beneficial for a number of reasons. These plants take little care and are often hard to kill and strong too. They also don’t require much food, or high tech equipment to look after.
Herbs are also a good starting point as they work well, grow in pots and once more are very hardy and strong. They don’t cost much and also spread quite well. Of course, if you like to cook, they double up as very useful kitchen flavouring.
Fruit and Veg
If you want to go as far as growing fruit and vegetables then kale, potatoes and radishes are a good start and don’t take much care, or cost a lot of money. Just plant them in some lifted soil or even hire a rotivator for a couple of hours – it doesn’t cost much. Currants and gooseberry bushes are also a good option in the fruit department and grow quickly and taste great. They’re also expensive in shops and so you can save on them by growing them.
These tips show you how low in price it costs to garden. It’s worth it on a number of levels and a real interest for life, so why not give it a try.
Cormac Reynolds is a keen gardener and has written for a variety of websites and home improvement blogs on the area.
There’s nothing like the taste of a fresh summer tomato. If only you could enjoy that flavor all year long. Thankfully, you can. There are a number of ways to preserve fresh tomatoes for later use. Whether you’re canning or freezing tomatoes, you can rest assured that you won’t have to eat a tasteless tomato come winter time. Here are just a few tips and tricks you can use for storing fresh tomatoes for the winter.
The first step to canning tomatoes is to thoroughly wash the tomatoes. Once washed, remove the stems and use a pairing knife to score the bottom of the tomato with an “x”. This will help ensure that the tomatoes are easier to peel once boiled. Place the tomatoes in boiling water for 30 – 45 seconds. Immediately place the tomatoes in ice water to stop the cooking process. Once the tomatoes are cool enough to handle, peel the skins off and cut the tomatoes into quarters, making sure to remove any blemishes. Place the tomatoes in sterilized canned jars, leaving a quarter-inch of the jar empty. Pour in two tablespoons of lemon juice for quart-sized jars, or one for pint-sized jars, and then fill the jars half full with hot tomato juice. You then need to remove any air bubbles from the jar, which can be done with a butter knife. Simply move the contents around with the knife to release any trapped air. You’re then ready to begin the heating process.
Before you place the caps on the jars, make sure they are clean so that the jars seal properly. Screw the lids on, but not too tightly. Place the jars in the canner, making sure they stay covered with at least an inch of water throughout the heating process. Boil pint-sized jars for 40 minutes and quart-sized jars for 45 (the exact time will vary according to altitude). Once heated, the jars need to sit in a draft-free area overnight. The next day, check the lids to make sure they sealed. If the lids make a popping sound, they did not seal and need to be refrigerated immediately. Canned tomatoes can be stored for up to 12 -18 months at room-temperature.
Freezing tomatoes is much, much easier and less time consuming. To freeze tomatoes, you will need to follow the above mentioned steps for peeling the tomatoes. Once peeled, you will want to cut the tomatoes in half and squeeze out the seeds and liquid. As you work, place tomatoes in a colander to remove any leftover liquid. Once the tomatoes are squeezed and dry, place in freezer bags and remove the air from the bags. The tomatoes are then ready to freeze and can be stored for in the coldest part of the freezer up to 6 – 8 months.
When properly cared for, tomato plants can yield more tomatoes than you’ll ever be able to eat. Thankfully, you can store those tomatoes to eat in the winter. Whether you can or freeze your tomatoes, you’ll never have to eat a tasteless tomato again.
Shavonda Gulsvig works part-time as a driving instructor and loves seeing new drivers hit the road safely. She’s also a foodie who enjoys finding ways to store her own foods. Shavonda also enjoys making her own healthy wines so she can focus more on flavor and less on wine calories as she incorporates her creations into her cooking.
I love growing different edible plants but always find it tough spending so much money on seed packets early in the year. Will I really grow enough food to cover the cost of the seeds? I always find myself asking this question before I make a seed purchase. Fortunately there is a solution for the gardener who is in the same situation. Why not save your own seeds? After all, this is what the big seed companies do.
Fresh tomatoes are a wonderful part of late summer and why not preserve the genetics of the tomato plants that thrive in your garden for next year? Below is a simple method for saving tomato seeds from your garden to jump start your garden next year.
But first make sure that the tomatoes you want to save seeds from are heirloom or open pollinated varieties. This means that the seeds will produce a plant with similar growing and fruit characteristics as the plant that grew in your garden this year. Seeds from hybrid varieties may not produce a plant anything like the parent.
The best way to prepare tomato seeds for storage is by fermentation. Doing this will help to separate the seeds from the gel. Follow the steps below for best results.
Cut the tomato in half or quarters and scoop out the seeds and associated gel.
Place into a small container. Be sure to label the container with the variety name.
Add about ½ cup of water to the container and cover with saran wrap.
Place in a warm location out of sunlight for 3-5 days. During this time the water will become cloudy and a moldy film may develop on the surface as the fermentation takes place, this is ok.
After several days of fermentation remove the film with a spoon and add another 1/2-1 cup of water and stir the mixture.
The best seeds to save are those that sink to the bottom. Carefully pour off the pulp and extra water.
You may need to repeat steps 5 and 6 to obtain clean seeds.
Strain the seeds through a metal strainer or paper towel and place seeds on a paper plate to dry. Wax paper also works well as a surface for drying tomato seeds.
After several days of drying place the seeds in an appropriately labeled container for storage, paper envelopes work well as they allow any excess moisture to dissipate from the seeds. Store in a cool and dry location.
Tomato seeds prepared in the manner above and stored as described will be viable for several years. Again, be sure to label the fermentation container and envelope. Perhaps adding a photo of the tomato type to the envelope would be helpful as well.
Galen Williams is the creator of www.ediblegardennw.com and is an avid edible gardening enthusiast.
What are some of the things to do now to get ready for next season?
Ernie: Well, the vines are going to die after you get a frost. So you can then take your cages, or stakes and put aside to be used next spring when you plant your new crop. You can leave those stalks and tend to them later or pull all the stalks up and put them in a pile and burn them. After you get that taken care of, you can even till your soil if you like. I think it is a good idea to till the soil about once a month even during the winter time, so that you are bringing up to the surface any weeds, seeds, things like that, and the cold weather will kill them.
Why do you burn the tomato plants?
Ernie: That is to destroy any harbor for bugs and worms and things like that. They will run over in your garden and make a home out of plants like corn stalks, tomato plants and that sort of thing. Bugs make a home there for the winter and next spring they will be ready to get back into your garden plants. So burning them is a good way to dispose of those.
Any other tips for preparing for next season?
Ernie: Let’s see. You can be making your plans for next season, going through your garden catalogs; you can visit your seed store, making a list of things you want to plant, and things you need to do. You can go ahead and buy fertilizer; a lot of seeds won’t be available until next spring. You have to wait on those.
What about people who want to use their current seed –let’s say they had a really good crop from certain plants and they want to save the seed and plant them next year?
Ernie: Some seeds, you can do that. The hybrid seeds are not as good for that, because you may get a plant from the hybrid seeds, but you won’t get any fruit. Take squash, okra, beans, peas, things like that –you can take those seeds, save them over the winter. It is not a bad idea to put them in a bag, in your freezer. Hold them until next spring and they will be fine. It is just the hybrid seeds – most of the tomato plants you buy are hybrids -so, they are not going to do too well. But the little cherry tomatoes and things like that, they are not hybrid, so you could save those. If you had initially dropped them in the ground, they are going to come up next spring anyway.
How do you know if you have a hybrid tomato?
Ernie: It’s on the label when you buy it.
So for example, heirloom tomatoes would not be a hybrid?
Ernie: That’s true, yes. Heirlooms have been saved over and over from the same plants, so those are going to be OK.
Is there a certain procedure for saving those seeds, for the tomato plants?
Ernie: It is a good idea to cut the tomato, take the seeds out and lay them out on a paper to dry. Then put them in a plastic bag and put them in your freezer and keep them over the winter. Then you could plant them indoors starting in February or you can wait and plant them outdoors. It would probably be best to start indoors in February.
We have a video done by Still Lake Nursery on how to plant tomato seeds for next year once you save them. Or if you buy your own seeds, they show exactly how you do it. Anything else before we move on?
Ernie: I guess we pretty well covered it. It is a good idea to wrap your plants to last longer through the cooler weather. Once a month you want to till your soil during the winter months for weed control for the coming season in order to keep your ground in good shape and ready to go next spring.
Does it make sense to put some kind of mulch or compost on the ground now?
Ernie: I would suggest to not do that because it can become a harbor for insects if you cover the ground with mulch. It will be best to wait till you get your plants out, to mulch it.
We will be having another session on composting coming up sometime soon and we will get that one done here too.
Ernie: Good, look forward to it.
Photo courtesy of Mattox
This video shows the step by step process of how to plant tomato plants so they get the best start for high productivity. There is probably nothing more important than this step to get a lush healthy plant that produces bountiful tomatoes!