Tomato Love & Favs

I will admit it. My FAVORITE thing to grow is tomatoes. I grow about 90 tomato plants each year in my garden. I am dreaming about tomatoes and cannot wait to start my babies again. You may call that obsessive or perhaps addictive and well, you would be right.

I have grown a number of tomatoes over the last 3 summers. Some were a disappointment and some I bring back for an encore each year.

I love growing roma tomatoes. Below are Granadero from Johnny’s. Along with San Marzano from High Mowing these two are my favorites for canning – whole, sauced, soup, pizza sauce and roasted. I will even halve these and freeze them. My garden would not be complete without them.

For little cherry type tomatoes I love Yellow Pear and Sakura. I have learned that I do not need more than 2 of each of these plants. They are prolific and give us more tomatoes for salads than we can eat and share.  Yellow Pear do crack but we have not found that to be a deterrent. The Sakura are red and crack resistant and oh so sweet.

Below are Brandywine. I love they way they taste. I never get many from a plant, but I will continue to grow them.

One of my all time favs are my Purple Cherokees. I typically pick them fairly green and let them ripen in the house. If I leave them on the vine until they are purple, the bugs seem to find them. AND the bugs love them as much as me! So I grab first. I share these with my friends and they come back for more.

A couple years ago I started also ordering from Seeds from Italy. I wish I could have located a picture today but I could not. You will have to take my word that some of these tomatoes are 3 + pounds, very meaty with few seeds. They paste and sauce really well. I have ordered Pomodoro Ace and Pomodoro Red Pear. I will continue to plant these in my garden. I will warn you that these plants grow and grow and grow (they are indeterminate). My rows are 4 feet apart and I cannot walk through these after they get going.

I tried the Indigo Rose last year and found them to be so-so. They are really pretty as they are purple and green and about 2 – 3 inches. But I felt they looked better than they tasted. I will add one of these in the garden this year but not more than that. The verdict is still out on whether they will be a returning plant each year.

I also planted, after many recommendations, Green Zebras last year. Yum and yum! BUT I planted way too many; these babies put out a BUNCH of tomatoes. Two plants will get planted this year. These will be a returning plant year after year; pretty and yummy is a combo you have to go with!

I will try a couple new ones this year simply because I cannot resist!

My most favorite tomato however is the one that I can slice

And add to a sandwich. Oh my mouth is watering! I can’t wait to repeat this picture in July!

Do you have a favorite tomato that you grow? I would love to know what you would have my try to add to my garden.

Happy Unleashing!

FGU

Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop #236

Welcome to the Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop!

If you are returning, welcome back. If you are new, I am so excited you have stopped by. I have been dreaming of spring and summer gardening all week. I LOVE all my seed catalogs. How about you?

I have also been doing some germination tests on my seeds to see what it is I REALLY need to order. I have very little seed control over myself so I am TRYING. If you have never done a seed germination test, it is easy- here’s a “how to.”

Last week on the hop there was the most beautiful piano table! Did you see it? If not you must check this out from Repurposed For Life. Isn’t it gorgeous?

What have you been up to this week. Please share a blog or two!!!

Let’s blog hop!

Here’s some simple guidelines:

  1. Write a post about your farmgirl lifestyle and brag a little about your farmgirl talents while your at it! Share what being a farmgirl means to you. Include lots of photos of your farm, crafts, animals,  quilts, home decor projects and thrifty make overs, your backyard garden, chicken coop, recipes, studio or workshop. You get the idea!
  2. Leave your entry in the Linky tools space to your  Farmgirl Friday post.
  3. Please include the Farmgirl Friday button ( or link back here ) in your post and remember to share this hop with all of your blogging friends!
  4. Enter up to three entries per hop

I am happy to journey with you again this year; so glad you are here.

Farmgirl is a Condition of the Heart – MaryJaneButters



Are My Seeds Still Good?

If you are like me, there is so much joy experienced in planning your spring garden in January and February when it is cold outside.

I love to bring in my seed carton (yes it is a bit on the large side) and I start the inventory of my seeds.

I really get excited to see them all again and I get really excited about browsing through my seed catalogs and wondering what to order for the coming season.

I am a bit of a “seedaholic” and can find myself ordering (and spending) more than needed on seeds each season. I have been attempting to save seeds and use previous year’s seeds.

When I see the dates on seed packs and I wonder how accurate it is. I debate if I can use something past that expiration date. For example, last year I planted pepper seeds from the previous year and they did not germinate. BUT on the opposite end of the spectrum I have a huge bag of pension green beans and have been planting from that bag for four years and I always have more beans than I even hope for.

Or maybe you have started saving seeds like me. I don’t have confidence in this area yet so I wonder if they are really good or not after I save them.

An easy way to test your seeds is to conduct a little germination test. It sounds complex but is so simple. So, if you are like me and looking at all those seeds from previous years wondering if you can plant them try this:

Pick some seeds out you would like to test. I chose a favorite tomato seed and some pepper seeds I saved myself. Like I said, I had trouble germinating peppers last year from older seeds plus I saved these myself, so I needed a little confidence builder on these before I plant them.

Dampen a paper towel and then lay out some seeds. I use 10 seeds per paper towel. That way the math is easy for me– if 2 fail I have an 80% germination rate. You can use more seeds (I just find the math more complex then) but use at least 10.

Fold the towel and pop it in a ziploc bag. Be sure to attach the seed packet somehow so you know what is what in there.

Place the bags in a warm place. I chose our sunroom on a chair that is near our heater in there. The heater doesn’t really get hot it just warms the room at a constant temperature. Then you wait about a week (7 – 10 days is good).

After 6 days my tomato seeds look like this:

My pepper seeds are not germinated yet.

BUT peppers can take 2 – 3 weeks so I am not concerned about these at this point. I will keep an eye on them.

Do you check your seeds for viability? Do you buy new each year? Do you save your own seeds from year to year?

Hope this was helpful if you didn’t know how to check your seeds.

Happy Unleashing today!

FGU

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop #235

Welcome to Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop! 

And Happy New Year!

We are about TWO weeks into the new year. Are you a resolution maker? Do you like to kick start the new year with a new habit or do you like to try something new?

Since I love to cook, I have been looking in my cookbooks and Pinterest for new recipes to try out. I have made some new soups, tried new things with spaghetti squash and made my own enchilada sauce this week instead of using a bottled one when making enchiladas. OK– they were delicious!

What about you? Is there something new you want to attempt in 2017? Something you want to brag about doing? This is the place!

Brag about your cooking, farming skills, gardening, crafting, sewing, painting and whatever else you do to connect with your inner farmgirl. It can be a new endeavor for 2017 or one that you have mastered!

Let’s blog hop!

Here’s some simple guidelines:

  1. Write a post about your farmgirl lifestyle and brag a little about your farmgirl talents while your at it! Share what being a farmgirl means to you. Include lots of photos of your farm, crafts, animals,  quilts, home decor projects and thrifty make overs, your backyard garden, chicken coop, recipes, studio or workshop. You get the idea!
  2. Leave your entry in the Linky tools space to your  Farmgirl Friday post.
  3. Please include the Farmgirl Friday button ( or link back here ) in your post and remember to share this hop with all of your blogging friends!
  4. Enter up to three entries per hop

I am happy to journey with you again this year! Here’s to a lot of fun and a lot of sharing in 2017.

Farmgirl is a Condition of the Heart – MaryJaneButters


Hello Again!

Happy Fall!

I have been on a bit of a hiatus. For me it is a good thing to do now and then. It is nice to focus on what I am doing and not be so concerned with camera angles while taking pictures and making sure that I am not missing a picture or redoing something just to capture the picture. I am pretty certain that if you blog you can relate to that! So every once in a while I put the camera aside, take pictures just for me and detach just a bit from the electronics.

We have had a full and fun late summer however. Much of me still feels I am in summer. The temperatures are cooler and the fall garden is planted but the summer garden is still producing heavily. So canning and eating summer food is still in the forefront. Canning is on the calendar again this week. Last Tuesday I canned 55 pounds of tomatoes. It makes me so excited to think I will be able to enjoy them all winter long!

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The produce is still coming in!

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I have lots of winter squash coming in now, but no pictures. Like I said, my electronics and I have been working on practicing a little separation.

Kitchen! Yes, kitchen is progressing nicely. Cabinets on the walls now and gorgeous counter tops. I am super excited about the counter space I have now and the big sink!

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And of course life would not bring quite as many smiles without a visit to this little guy!

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I hope you are enjoying the transition of the seasons! What are some of your favs this time of year?

Happy Unleashing into Fall!

FGU

Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop #234

FGF LogoV2Hello and welcome to the Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop! Although I must admit I should say the “every other Friday” blog hop as that is what has occurred in August. Between gardening (at peak time!), canning, kitchen remodel and the day job there have not been enough hours for it all. So I begged forgiveness and hope you will join in today!

I had a grand time outside early this morning. I planted our four coldframes. These things feed us through the fall and winter and into the spring as we begin to have spring veggies. I love them! Wood and doors that we reused were all it took to build them and this is our 3rd year with them. Hubby freshened them up with some compost earlier in the week and they are now planted and ready for fall.

Here are two pictures from last year after they were producing.

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From Annie last time we got some great tips on keeping all of this produce fresh. When you bring in buckets of cucumbers and corn it is nice to have some tips on keeping stuff fresh until you can eat it all! (or make pickles and pickles and pickles…) Thanks Annie!

I hope you are all tuned in and ready to share! Have a great weekend!

Let’s blog hop!

Here’s some simple guidelines:

  1. Write a post about your farmgirl lifestyle and brag a little about your farmgirl talents while your at it! Share what being a farmgirl means to you. Include lots of photos of your farm, crafts, animals,  quilts, home decor projects and thrifty make overs, your backyard garden, chicken coop, recipes, studio or workshop. You get the idea!
  2. Leave your entry in the  Linky tools space to your  Farmgirl Friday post.
  3. Please include the Farmgirl Friday button ( or link back here ) in your post and remember to share this hop with all of your blogging friends!
  4. Enter up to three entries per hop

Thank you for joining and sharing and visiting each other! It is not a hop without you.

Farmgirl is a Condition of the Heart – MaryJaneButters



Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop #233

FGF LogoV2Welcome back to the Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop! I was slammed at my day job last Friday so unfortunately blog hop did not happen. BUT we are back this week and we are in AUGUST!

Wow I cannot believe it. I love this time of year. This is when, for me, the hard work from spring planting comes to fruition and we have more food than we can eat. Preserving and sharing it begins!

Pickles were on the agenda this morning. Early this morning I picked over 11 pounds of cucumbers!

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The smaller ones got scrubbed and 8 pounds found themselves waiting to be pickled.

IMG_20160805_090510989We now have seven quarts of yummy, garlicky, “pickly” goodness.

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This is an easy and delicious recipe that I have used for the last three years. It is from DIY Natural and it is amazing.

I hope you are having an amazing summer. I know for many of you this is the time of year that your children are either headed back to school or you may be gearing up for a new homeschooling year. Cheers to a great school year!

So, let’s hop! I am sure you have been doing much over the last couple of weeks, so start your bragging on yourself!

 



Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop #232

FGF LogoV2Welcome to Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop!

Last week we were on a farm tour with Purdue extension services so there was no Farmgirl Friday blog hop that occurred. The tour was really good as it helped to clarify some things for us. That is ALWAYS valuable. We turned in our paperwork this week for our tunnel from the EQIP program from the USDA. Exciting times!

Whoa is it hot! How about where you are? We worked outside for 3 hours this morning before work because the heat index is expected to peak 105 degrees today and tomorrow. That is too hot even for me to work outside! I think this weekend will be filled with the kitchen remodel since that happens to occur in the air conditioning!

We got our first little summer harvest this week. It is such an exciting time of the year when that occurs.

How are you staying cool? What are you harvesting? What are you up to? Let’s get to the hop!

Here’s some simple guidelines:

  1. Write a post about your farmgirl lifestyle and brag a little about your farmgirl talents while your at it! Share what being a farmgirl means to you. Include lots of photos of your farm, crafts, animals,  quilts, home decor projects and thrifty make overs, your backyard garden, chicken coop, recipes, studio or workshop. You get the idea!
  2. Leave your entry in the  Linky tools space to your  Farmgirl Friday post.
  3. Please include the Farmgirl Friday button ( or link back here ) in your post and remember to share this hop with all of your blogging friends!
  4. Enter up to three entries per hop

Thank you for joining and sharing and visiting each other! It is not a hop without you.

Farmgirl is a Condition of the Heart – MaryJaneButters



Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop #231

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Welcome to the Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop!

You may be coming off a long weekend like we are. I love having the extra day from work to work in the garden and do other things around here. We are busy in the garden and busy in the kitchen with our remodel still going. Hubby got the sink out this week and by end of the weekend the new sink cabinet that he is building and our new apron sink should be in! Yipee!! For now we are using paper plates and cups and cooking on the grill. We have a sink in the basement but we figure the less dishes we make the better for a few days.

Last week I loved reading the blog on Hibiscus. I have Hibiscus and yet I buy tea with Hibiscus. Michelle from Seeking Joyful Simplicity shared a tea recipe and more on Hibiscus.

And who doesn’t like to put something old to good use. Lyn from Repurposed for Life showed us the new life her couch has received and boy is it pretty!

There were so many good link ups last week on the hop! Keep ’em coming as I love reading them.

Let’s blog hop!

Here’s some simple guidelines:

  1. Write a post about your farmgirl lifestyle and brag a little about your farmgirl talents while your at it! Share what being a farmgirl means to you. Include lots of photos of your farm, crafts, animals,  quilts, home decor projects and thrifty make overs, your backyard garden, chicken coop, recipes, studio or workshop. You get the idea!
  2. Leave your entry in the  Linky tools space to your  Farmgirl Friday post.
  3. Please include the Farmgirl Friday button ( or link back here ) in your post and remember to share this hop with all of your blogging friends!
  4. Enter up to three entries per hop

Thank you for joining and sharing and visiting each other! It is not a hop without you.

Farmgirl is a Condition of the Heart – MaryJaneButters



Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop #230

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Happy Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop #230

AND

Happy 4th of July Weekend!

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Plans for picnics, BBQs and fireworks dance in my head. My cousin’s family has moved nearby (1 hour away) YIPEE! AND we will be spending some quality family time with them this weekend.

And yes gardening and lots of it this weekend. With a long weekend away from the day job that leaves much time for playing outside and getting a great farmgirl manicure.

Did you see the beautiful crafts made from blue bottles last week on the blog hop?

This was just one of the beautiful pictures and fun things that Lyn shared. I must admit however that these chimes were my favorite. Thanks to Lyn from sharing from Repurposed For Life.

Enjoy your 4th of July. But be sure to stop by and link up your blog to show off your farmgirl skills!

Farmgirl is a Condition of the Heart – MaryJaneButters