Cooking with Green Tomatoes

green tomatoGreen is the New Red – I hate to say it, but you know all those green tomatoes you have growing? They’ll likely stay that way. We’ve had a few nice weeks of heat, but the days are short now and it won’t be enough to ripen all the fruits. Since you’ve already trimmed up your plant and removed the teeny tiny green tomatoes so they won’t suck all the energy away from the bigger fruits, here are some tips on how to deal with a green tomato glut.

– If green tomatoes are full sized, you can bring them in the house to ripen. Be sure to try and Continue reading

Tips for Saving Seed

My apartment is full of all sorts of goodies of intrigue this time of year. At the moment, I have a bunch of parsley that I let go to seed drying, some brassica seed ready to be stored and two sheet pans full of flower heads waiting to be picked over.  I’m in full swing of seed-saving, a project most home gardeners seldom think to do.  Why spend $2.50 on a pack of cosmos AGAIN next year, when you have hundreds of seeds at your fingertips?  Saving seed is not only economical, it’s a good self-education on a plants biology.  (That was way garden geeky, I know) Some tips for seed saving: – Beans – if you’ve left some peas and beans on the vine too long, leave them be and let them turn brown and dry.  Remove the seeds (ie the actual bean or pea) from the pod, and store … Continue reading

Soil Savers

This weekend, I drove three hours out to apple country (which is now more of a peach country) for a last-of-the-season swim in Lake Chelan and first-of-the-season green apples for making green apple pectin. On the road through Blewitt Pass and the farm country just east of there, I couldn’t help but think about big agriculture. Amidst green vineyards and irrigated fields, it leaves a lot to ponder for a lil’ urban gardener, like me (and you!). As if the universe knew I was pondering, the next day I found an old National Geographic magazine sitting in the main cabin where I stayed. Drawn to the cover “Where our Food Comes From”, I picked it up for some lakeside reading. What I found was a fascinating article on soil that everyone should read. Now, I know soil doesn’t sound super important, but it is. Topsoil is not a dime a … Continue reading

Life of a Tomato

It’s happening. Days are getting noticeably shorter and cooler. Tank tops in the garden have been replaced by long sleeve shirts and there is a certain chill to the air – the seasons are changing. In the garden, especially given this summer’s cooler temps and late start, you’ve likely been staring at branches of green tomatoes with hopeful eyes and fingers crossed. While we can’t control the sun, we can control the plant, and there are some late-season tips for getting the ripest tomatoes in the last few weeks of warm(ish) weather. If you haven’t been trimming suckers off your plant all summer, now is the time. Essentially the branches on the main stem, suckers can be snipped off without affecting the fruit. By doing so, you are in essence re-routing the plant’s energy to making a full ripe fruit, not new leaves and branches. (That is a really simplified … Continue reading