Tips for Saving Your Own Tomato Seeds

Saving your own tomato seed, is not only a more economical way to grow your favorite varieties, but it makes for stronger plants too! Today I will share tips for saving your own tomato seeds, so you can be more self sufficient!  Why Should You Save Your Own Tomato Seeds? Economical: It will obviously be cheaper for you to save your own tomato seeds, rather than having to buy them. This comes into play especially if you are growing a lot of tomatoes. Or if you are selling the tomatoes. Less upfront costs means more profit in your pocket. Self Sufficiency: Well, it’s just a darn good idea to be able to grow your own food to begin with. Knowing how to harvest the seed, will keep you in good supply of that type of vegetable, for generations to come without having to buy the seed. After all, this is how our grandparents and great grandparents had seed to plant year after year! Stronger Plants: As a plant grows, and becomes accustomed to it’s current unique micro climate, it will adapt. As it adapts, these traits will be handed down to future generations of the plant, by passing them down through the seed it creates. So by saving seed again and again, season after season, you will always have much stronger plants, than from buying seed from a location that is not in your microclimate. Those seeds, are probably ideal, for wherever they were produced, but not for your unique growing conditions. This is probably the very best reason for saving your own tomato seeds. This goes for all plants, not just tomatoes! Related Article You May Be Interested In: Seed Starting 101: Planting Tomato Seed How to Transplant Tomato Seedlings How and Why You Should…

Harvesting and Curing Onions – Farm Fresh Tuesday (#10)

This week in our Farm Fresh Tuesday Blog Hop, our featured post is all about harvesting and curing onions! Scroll down to find out more! Growing Onions How often do you buy onions at the store? I know that before I started growing my own, I bought them almost weekly! Onions are just one of those vegetables that a lot of people don’t think about growing. If people do decide to grow onions, they just stick a few in and eat them fresh! I do that with sweet onions, but I personally like to grow enough onions to keep our household in home grown onions for most of the year. How do I do that? First, I grow onion by seed, rather than by sets. I go into more detail about why in this article about How to Plant Onion Seed. In this article I explain exactly How to Plant Onion Seedlings. Choosing the Right Onion Varieties for Long Term Storage If you are also interested in growing the majority of onions that your family uses, it is super important to choose the right variety. Sweet onions have a lot of sugar, and don’t keep well. You need to choose an onion variety that is known for being a long keeping onion or storage onion. These are the ones that store the best. I go into much more detail in this article about How to Store Onions from the Garden Through the Winter. In order to store onions properly, first they must be harvested and cured properly. That is why I chose my featured post this week, since I haven’t really covered that on my blog yet in fine detail. Our Featured Posts This Week: Harvesting and Curing Onions When I saw that Kathi…

How and When to Harvest Garlic

When is it time to harvest your garlic? Today I will share the clues you need to know it is time! Today we are talking all about how and when to harvest garlic as well as how to cure and store garlic! How Long Does Garlic Take to Grow? For the largest garlic cloves, garlic seed which is actually just garlic cloves, should be planted in the fall, before the first hard freeze. Because of this, I like to think of planting garlic, as the beginning of a new growing year. In our neck of the woods, zone 8b outside Seattle, Columbus Day is usually the target date, or mid October. For the best selection of garlic, it should be ordered online mid summer. Most places run out quickly of favorite varieties. Here is a page showing what Amazon currently has in stock: Garlic Seed My absolute favorite variety is Music Garlic. Great flavor and huge cloves! Big cloves are key to being one of my favorites. I have grown varieties where the cloves are teeny tiny and it is no fun peeling them! You can plant it later and it will do fine. In fact, you can plant it in early spring if you like. However, you will get much smaller garlic cloves as a result. Around here, harvest time is usually late June to early July. So that makes it around 8-9 months for it to grow and be ready for harvest. Related Article You May Be Interested In: How to Store Onions Thru the Winter The Benefits of Freezing Your Tomato Harvest How to Freeze Your Green Bean HarvestOur favorite Homesteading & Gardening things in our Amazon Store! Pros and Cons of Hard Neck vs Soft Neck Garlic What’s the difference between these two…

How and Why You Should Prune Tomato Plants

Not sure how or why you should prune your tomato plants? Today we will be sharing how and why you should! Pruning Indeterminate Tomato Plants Indeterminate tomato plants grow much taller than determinate tomato plants. They are a vining plant that will continue to grow and produce fruit until they experience their first frost. Therefore it is a good idea to provide them adequate support and to prune them to keep them healthy. To see how I support my tomato plants, please see my article Simple DIY Tomato Support System. Determinate tomato plants on the other hand, are not a vining plant that continually produces fruit. They grow one large crop of fruit that all ripens at the same time, and then the plant dies back. This type of tomato does not need to be pruned as much. However, I would still prune around the base of the plant (see below for more on that). Related Article You May Be Interested In: The Benefits of Freezing Your Tomato Harvest How to Transplant Tomato Seedlings Seed Starting 101: Planting Tomato Seed Our favorite Homesteading & Gardening things in our Amazon Store! 3 Reasons Why You Should Prune Your Tomatoes There are a couple of good reasons why you should prune your indeterminate tomato plants to keep them healthy. Pruning the lower 12″-18″ of the plant, helps to prevent back splash from the ground when it rains or when you water. The dirt in the ground can carry viruses which can harm the plants such as blight. Removing the stems and leaves at the bottom of the plant allows for less surface area for those viruses to infect. Pruning the suckers off the plant, creates better air flow and air circulation around the plant. This also prevents disease and…

DIY Tutorial Tomato Support System (Cheap, Easy & Strong!)

Staking Indeterminate tomatoes is a must. Today, I will be sharing with you how to stake tomatoes cheap and easy with this DIY tutorial on how to build a tomato plant support system using wooden stakes and chicken wire! Tomato Cages, Stakes and/or Trellises Not Working For You? Than you are in the right place! I got tired of my tomato support cages falling over, my wooden tomato stakes not being tall enough, the trellis system not being big enough, the twine or string breaking in a weave system. So my husband and I set out to build something that works! This DIY tomato support system uses inexpensive 2x2x8 wooden posts and chicken wire or welded wire, whatever you might have on hand will work. It is an excellent support for tomatoes in pots, or in the ground! Related Article You May Be Interested In: The Benefits of Freezing Your Tomato Harvest How to Transplant Tomato Seedlings Seed Starting 101: Planting Tomato SeedOur favorite Homesteading & Gardening things in our Amazon Store! How to Stake Tomatoes in Pots Living in the PNW, in our cool short summer growing season, I grow my tomatoes in pots, both in the greenhouse, and outside. It helps keep the plants & roots warmer, and I find that I get a bigger harvest growing them in pots. But I struggled to find a way to support the indeterminate tomato plants while growing them in pots. That is how this system was born. How to Stake Tomatoes or Support Tomatoes in a Greenhouse After unsuccessfully growing tomatoes outside, we invested in this greenhouse. It is rather large, at 10×20 and is my favorite gardening purchase EVER. (I secretly want a second one, to expand my Making Money Growing Plants project each spring&#8230…

How to Harden Off Your Seedlings (a must do step before planting in the garden!)

This post explains how to harden off your seedlings and why it is very important to do so before planting them in the garden! Have you grown your own vegetable starts by seed? Or flowers? Have you spent months taking care of them? Are you excited to plant them out in the garden? DID YOU HARDEN THEM OFF FIRST?!?!? Please read on to find out more about this critical step that many new gardeners are not aware of. Other related articles you may be interested in: Seed Starting 101: Essential Seed Starting Equipment Seed Starting 101: Winter Sowing How to Build a Straw Bale Cold FrameOur favorite gardening and homesteading equipment in our Amazon Shop! What Does Hardening Off  Your Seedlings Even Mean? Simply put, hardening off is the act of slowly allowing your baby plants, to grow accustomed to living outdoors. Here they have grown up so well indoors, being pampered by you for months! They have had just the right amount of heat and light. Just the right amount of water, the right soil, everything is so perfect! And now you want to plant them outside in your garden where there is wind, fluctuating temperatures, harsh UV rays from the sun! If the baby seedlings go from one extreme to the other, they will not fair well. They need time. They need a slow introduction. They need to acclimate. This is what hardening off is. What to do Before Hardening Off Your Seedlings Outdoors: OK, before you even begin hardening off your seedlings outside, there are a couple of things you can to inside to help them begin their adjustment to moving outside. One thing I like to do is place a oscillating fan on my seedlings once they have germinated and I remove the dome lids off…