Transplanting Seedlings

Today I started the transplant process for the tomato babies!

The key for seedlings in my experience is not to put them in direct light as soon as they emerge from the soil. Instead put them under a florescent light then they don’t get leggy. I just use a plain old florescent tube light but if you can afford the fancy grow lights go for it!

These tomato seedlings have been up for about 3 weeks and they are ready for transplant because their second set of leaves are forming. I am trying to do all of this on the cheap so I came up with using the cardboard boxes that I have access to instead of using expensive peat pots to transplant the seedlings into.

I cut the box so it is about 3 inches deep and for drainage, I cut holes in the bottom of the box. Make sure to wet the soil thoroughly ahead of time to prevent dry pockets. I used my kitchen sink sprayer to moisten the soil in a large bowl.

After spreading part of the soil in the bottom of the box I started to loosen the seedlings from their cramped container. Yes, I re-purposed sour cream and cool whip containers (don’t judge lol).

When separating the plants take care not to break their necks. Only lift the plants by the leaves and not the stem. If you break a leaf it’s not a big deal but if you break its neck, the plant is a goner. Loosen the soil at the base of each plant with a spoon or even your fingers and very gently guide the plant and root out by the leaf.

I placed the seedling in a pre-formed hole in the soil and then back filled the soil burying it right up to its neck. That’s right… bury the stem because it will create a stronger plant and along that buried stem roots will form. Be sure to pat the seedling in firmly so no air pockets form under the soil and there is good root to soil contact.

Water well. I use a squeeze bottle so I don’t hit the plants and knock them over with too much force. Now you can put them in a sunny window and water when the soil seems to need it, every 3 or 4 days.

Watch them grow super fast now. I always say a tomato plant has taken root and is growing strong when the stem starts to turn light purple. You’ll see.

These tomato plants are Cherokee Purple Tomatoes, an heirloom and there are 48 of them. I definitely don’t need 48 so when the time is right I’ll be giving some away.

See you in a few weeks for an update. ūüôā -MM

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Week 10 of 80 – Not Impressed With Our Debt – October Dinners – Meal Planning

October is already 7 days in, but here is what I am planning for dinner for the rest of October.

Oct 7th                            Oct 8th                   Oct 9th        Oct 10th              Oct 11th

Smoked Pork Chops    Chicken Salad     Breakfast     Crock Pot            Soup & Garlic Bread

Oct 12th                 Oct 13th                 Oct 14th             Oct 15th              Oct 16th

Wing it                Rot. Chicken            Pork Roast         Stuffed Shells       Tacos

Oct 17th                Oct 18th                Oct 19th             Oct 20th              Oct 21st

Burgers                   Soup                    Wedding             Wedding                Pot Pie

Oct 22nd              Oct 23rd               Oct 24th             Oct 25th               Oct 26th

Subs           Pork chops & mushrms   Crock Pot             Pizza                  Night Out

Oct 27th                  Oct 28th                Oct 29th            Oct 30th             Oct 31st

Stuffed Peppers    Veggie Stir Fry       Left Overs            Soup                  Wing it

There are a couple of things to note: We have a wedding we are participating in so dinners those two days are already covered and when I put generic meals like “burgers” I don’t just serve meat and cheese on a bun. We go all out for burgers, particularly because I prefer real ground turkey breast for my burgers and the boys like their beef burgers. We try all kinds of toppings; cheeses, bacon, mushrooms, etc.

Also pot pie in our home is made from scratch. No processed frozen pies. Homemade crust and many times veggies from our garden plus either beef or chicken. It’s soooo good!

I will try to get some videos done of a few of the meals that we make this month or at least some recipe posts with step by step. If you are interested in some of the things I grow, check out the live feed I did from Facebook a couple of days ago of my Garden Harvest

Oh and by the way, I paid another double payment to that pesky Old Navy card this week!

See you next time ūüôā – MM

Next Week’s Post – What our monthly bill payment schedule looks like.

 

June Garden Update

Hi all! Just a quick garden update for you today just click on the link below.

Lots to do still but I am pretty excited about how much we have gotten done so far.

Have a great weekend and I’ll update you again soon. -MM

**June Garden Update** click on

Food Preservation Goals and Garden Update September 13, 2017

The summer has flown by and we are now in the middle of September already!

I never got a second crop of anything in because I have been so busy with work now that the college workers are back in school. It has been a fabulous growing season mostly for us. The wet Spring damaged a lot of our fruit trees but the garden itself produced its heart out for us.

I am having surgery next Tuesday and will have a 10 lb. weight limit put on me for six whole weeks which will drive me nuts at work but will unfortunately cut my gardening season short this year as well.

It’s ok though, like I said our little garden out-performed itself this year and I actually kept up on it for once.

As far as the preserving of all of this lovely produce, here’s where I have been super busy!

  • Strawberry Jam
  • Grape Jelly
  • Peach Jam
  • Blackberry Jelly
  • Dandelion Jelly
  • Honeyed Yellow Tomato Butter
  • Basil Banana Pepper Jelly
  • Apple Sauce
  • Grape Juice
  • Pickled Beets
  • Canned Beets
  • Vegetable Stock
  • Vegetable Soup
  • Blackberry, Peach, ¬†Cordials
  • Frozen Corn
  • Frozen Peppers
  • Frozen Beet Greens/Chard
  • Red Root Relish
  • ¬†Crushed Tomatoes
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Frozen Winter Squash and some stored whole
  • Chili
  • Stuffed Sweet Peppers
  • Frozen summer/zucchini squash
  • Shredded zucchini
  • Strawberry Syrup
  • Blackberry Syrup
  • Dill Pickle Relish
  • Sweet Pickle Relish

With my surgery cutting my growing season short, it also cuts my preserving goals a little short too. I still plan on getting the grapes and the apples done but the beets might have to wait until next year.

I made a gigantic pot of chili using my tomatoes, peppers, onions and garlic and will get that in the freezer for easy meals today.

I have also been busy drying herbs. Basil and lemon balm so far. Chives will get frozen, parsley and sage will also get dried as well.

I’ll post one more update sometime in October to wrap up my season.

What have you been up to this summer with your garden and preserving? I would love to hear from you! -MM

 

Gardening and Preserving Goals July 25th Update

This summer is the complete opposite of last summer.  Last summer, barely any rain fell, this summer it hasn’t stopped raining for more than two days at a time.

We have lost some things like the cherries, however, most of my plantings have thrived in the rainy hot weather. 

The bold items in the lists below are what I have accomplished so far for my 2017 goals.

HERBS

  1. Garlic 
  2. Chives
  3. Aloe Vera
  4. Dill
  5. Artemisia
  6. Calendula
  7. Chamomile
  8. Cilantro
  9. Purple Cone Flower (Echinacea)
  10. Sweet Woodruff
  11. Lavender
  12. Lemon Balm
  13. Mint
  14. Catnip
  15. Basil
  16. Oregano
  17. Parsley
  18. Anise
  19. Rosemary
  20. Sage
  21. Dandelion
  22. Thyme
  23. Nasturtium
  24. Valerian

The lemon balm finally sprouted from the seed that I planted back in May. The lemon balm plants I purchased from a nursery however died within a week of planting them. Hey, at least I got something out of all of that, right?

    CROPS

      1. Asparagus
      2. Strawberries
      3. Raspberries
      4. Blackberries
      5. Cherries Sweet
      6. Cherries Sour
      7. Pears
      8. Peaches
      9. Grapes
      10. Rhubarb
      11. Sweet Peppers
      12. Banana Peppers
      13. Eggplant
      14. Onions
      15. Shallots
      16. Snap Bean Bush – Purple, yellow and green
      17. Snap Bean Pole
      18. Peas
      19. Spinach
      20. Lettuce
      21. Cabbage
      22. Swiss Chard
      23. Beets
      24. Radish
      25. Carrots
      26. Cucumbers
      27. Pumpkins
      28. Gourds
      29. Winter Squash
      30. Zucchini
      31. Yellow Squash
      32. Cantaloupes
      33. Water Melon
      34. Sunflowers
      35. Tomatoes
      36. Celery
      37. Broccoli
      38. Potatoes
      39. Yellow Tomatoes
      40. Paste Tomatoes

      PRESERVING

      1. Strawberry Jam
      2. Grape Jelly
      3. Black Raspberry Jam
      4. Red Raspberry Jam
      5. Peach Jam
      6. Pear Jelly
      7. Apple Jelly
      8. Honeyed Yellow Tomato Butter
      9. Canned Cherries in Syrup
      10. Canned Cherry Pie Filling Sweet
      11. Canned Cherry Pie Filling Sour
      12. Basil Banana Pepper Jelly
      13. Apple Sauce
      14. Grape Juice
      15. Pear Juice
      16. Tart Cherry Juice
      17. Pickled Beets
      18. Canned Beets
      19. Vegetable Stock
      20. Vegetable Soup
      21. Tomato Sauce
      22. Blackberry, Red Raspberry, Peach, Cherry Cordials
      23. Chili Sauce (Two different kinds)
      24. Bread and Butter Pickles
      25. Frozen Corn
      26. Frozen Peppers
      27. Frozen Beet Greens/Chard
      28. Red Root Relish
      29. Lemon Sage Wine Mustard
      30.  Dilly Deans
      31. Pickled Hot Peppers
      32. Sweet Crisp Pickles
      33.  Crushed Tomatoes
      34. Whole Tomatoes Packed in Water
      35.  Canned Green Beans
      36. Frozen Peas
      37. Frozen Winter Squash and some stored whole
      38. Chili
      39. Stuffed Hot Peppers
      40. Stuffed Sweet Peppers
      41. Frozen summer/zucchini squash
      42. Shredded zucchini 
      43. Strawberry Syrup

      I have tons to go in the preserving category but it is very early in the canning season. Typically, September and October are the busiest months for canning. 

      I added number 41 and 42 because I have been going nuts with so many squash. I put up 8 lbs of shredded zucchini and 9 quart bags of squash slices that can be used for anything from stir fries to ratatouille to soups in the winter. Yum!

      Number 43 I added because I got 16 quarts of strawberries to do something with and this syrup is wonderful on pancakes so I made a double batch!

      That’s it for now!

      What have you been up to in the planting and preserving dept? – MM

      Gardening and Preserving Goals Update July 12, 2017

      I can’t believe what a difference a few short weeks has made in the garden. Tons of rain and finally some heat have made my garden GROW. I can’t keep up with all the summer squash!

      Check out all the greeny goodness in the pics below.

      The potatoes are loving their new converted fireplace planting bed

      The blackberries are abundant this year. I have never seen them so loaded with beautiful berries.

      I only have 6 basil plants but it’s almost too much! (not that I am complaining)


      Not only have we had spectacular wins in the garden but we have also had spectacular fails as well. I planted lemon balm and celery and I don’t know if they just didn’t like the soil or maybe each other but they both withered up and died within days of planting them. That was a real bummer I tell ya!

      My garlic, my beloved and most anticipated garlic, is failing. I have never grown garlic before so any advice would be welcome but it did not make scapes this year and it’s leaves are already turning brown.

      Also we lost all of our sweet cherries to the cold rainy Spring. That’s 3 years in a row we have not had a harvest from these 2 trees. Some re-evaluating will be going on after this season on what to do about it.

      And finally our Bosc pear and our apple trees are in trouble due to fire blight which I will catch you up on in another post. Sigh…

      On the bright side I have gotten some things preserved and stored in the pantry and freezer for the winter.

      7 pints of strawberry syrup, 5- 12 oz. containers of strawberry freezer jam, 5 quarts of sour cherries (which we had abundant crops of despite the sweet cherry fail) and tons of shredded zucchini for cakes and bread all got done last week.

      I will give you a more detailed update next time but until then happy gardening! -MM