Posts Tagged ‘tomatoes’

How Big Should My Vegetable Garden Be?

The best answer is often the simplest one.  How ever much you want.  The aim of the vegetable garden is to produce food.  Once that goal is attained what is left over is up to you and you have 3 choices – consume it, preserve it or give it away.

But as a general rule of thumb, one 4’ x 8’ raised bed supplements 2 adults nicely. If you have a highly vegetarian diet or enjoy more food than the average Joe, go for one garden per person.

cedar summer garden

Summer Garden

If you find you have a shortage of fresh veggies to harvest, you can always plant more, but what happens if you have too many tomatoes for example.  We may be creatures of habit, but we often enjoy variety in our diet.  If you have already preserved as many tomatoes as you can (frozen tomato sauce is my favourite) then give some away.  Who would not want to be the recipient of free home grown tomatoes?!?!

For me, vegetable gardening is very much like tattoos.  Once you start it’s hard to stop.  But sometimes getting started is the hardest part. If you recently started a garden please share your inspiration.  If you’re thinking about it but haven’t gotten around to it yet, why not??

Eat drink and be merry.

The At Home Organic


How To Avoid Rising Food Prices

Tomato (Tamatar)

Image via Wikipedia

If you haven’t noticed, the price of everything is going up; gasoline, imported goods and most importantly food.  There was an article on CBC talking about this very issue.  Earlier this month CTV covered a similar story.  It’s concerning for sure, but there is a simple way to help lower the cost of your grocery bill.

Grow your own food and change the way you eat. 

Yes it’s that simple. 

First the growing part.  Once you’ve invested in setting up the garden there are very few costs to bear aside from seeds.  Even compost can be made at home for free and with relative ease.  There are a lot of tips and tricks to gardening but that should not stop anyone from starting a home kitchen garden.  Here are a couple easy comparisons:

  • Tomatoes
    • In the store: $0.99/lb.
    • Or some tomato seeds produce tomatoes for 5 months on average
  • Herbs
    • In the store: $1.99 per pack
    • Or some herb seeds that produces all season long

There is a ton of information available on the subject of gardening on the internet, libraries, fellow gardeners, farmers etc.  Once you start you’ll soon realize how expansive the subject is.

The reason you must change the way you eat is because transportation costs play a big role in the cost of food so those tomatoes you enjoy from Mexico or California are going to get more expensive.  The easiest way to lessen the cost is to stop eating foods from far away and support local growers, especially your own backyard garden. 

Preserving food is not a new concept, but it does involve some planning.  Instead of eating all of your tomatoes in salads save some and make an easy sauce then freeze it for the winter.  You can also dehydrate your produce, or even marinate or pickle it.  There are lots of different options.

The point is the food you eat is getting more expensive along with everything else.  It will soon cost more to get into your car, drive to the store, buy the food, drive home and cook it.  Why would you not want to avoid all of that and step out your back door, harvest some herbs and veggies and walk back to your kitchen to cook it up.  Yum!

Are you feeling the pinch with rising prices? Where are you seeing the biggest impact?

Eat drink and be merry.

The At Home Organic

7500 Tomato Varieties – which are you eating?


tomatoes in my hand

Blondkopfchen and Black Cherry tomatoes

Usually when you’re out grocery shopping your choice of tomato is fairly limited.  You can choose between Ontario and USA field tomatoes, Ontario cherry tomatoes, and sometimes an heirloom variety (at $5.99/lb or more)… But what about the actual name? What about the actual variety?

Personally, I look to buy from Ontario when ever possible, even though I know that means going without some of my favourite fruits and veggies in the off months.  I can’t wait for spring time when the first pieces of broccoli and lettuce come to market.  But my absolute favourite is when local tomatoes hit the market. 

I love them.  I love them in salads, stir fries, sandwiches, pickling, barbequing, stews, pastas, and the list goes on.  There are few recipes out there where I don’t try and sneak some tomatoes in. 

Then one day, I realized that I have no idea what kind of tomato I buy.  I know if it’s a cherry tomato, or a field tomato, but that’s it.  Did you know there are more than 7500 different varieties of tomatoes?  Varieties like Cosmonaut Volkov, Big Rainbow, Brandywine, Moneymaker and Mr. Stripey illustrate just how little you may know about the tomatoes you buy at the market.

The tomatoes I find at the market lack that big tomato flavour that comes from home grown tomatoes, which makes sense since the tomato growers are focused on quantity and so quality is missed. 

As consumers we have become somewhat complacent in the food that we buy because we accept that we must purchase what is offered.  Time becomes a key factor in deciding what foods we eat as there is only so much time available for grocery shopping.  Why go to multiple stores when there is so much available at one? 

It almost seems silly that so many of us will settle for any variety of tomato that we find, instead of seeking out a Black Zebra tomato for perfect Brushetta, or the Blondkopfchen, ideal for winter salads.

Can’t find your favourite tomato variety at your local market? Try growing your own!

Eat drink and be merry.

The At Home Organic


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