Tag Archives: tomatoes

Home grown salsa

This fall we made some delicious salsa. The ‘brown berry’ and yellow tomato varieties made the tomato base syrupy sweet. I used onions, garlic, cilantro, serrano chilies (that my mom grew at a lower elevation) cumin, lime juice, salt…I think that’s all. We ate a lot fresh, and cooked & canned some up too.

We also experimented with growing high elevation green chili plants and had some luck. The plants were leggy because I planted them too near some extreme tomato vines, but they fought to survive and we got a few chilies. We dug the plants up and brought them inside.







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Dried tomatoes in oil

This fall we had a lot of tomatoes to preserve. I dehydrated them and then stored them in olive oil. The fruits softened up in the oil. I’ve been storing them in the fridge and adding scoops to recipes. The oil has an amazing flavor!





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Tomato city

This summer was *insane* for cherry tomatoes. This was my first time trying a bunch of different varieties by seed. It ended up being a crazy mess of vines everywhere since I never got around to putting any tomato cages up. Picking was twister. I took as many pictures as I could.

Variety review is as follows:

Isis candy cherry – nice classic red one and a half inch fruits. I didn’t see many with the orange variegation ‘cat eye’ come through as advertised.

Cherry Roma – cute one inch little red Roma tomatoes. These were the least prolific of the six I tried and took the longest time to bare.

Blondkopfchen – my second favorite of the six. Tiny round yellow fruits that formed in incredibly prolific bunches. The fruit was sweet and had a really cute elfin point at the base!

Red fig – pretty and firm pear shaped fruits that ranged in size. We still have one of these plants hanging on next to the house in the corner of the hoop house by the 55 gallon drum we have for thermal mass. Yay December tomatoes!

Egg yolk – very round and sweet yellow fruit; prolific too. When it got very ripe it was near orange but was sweet when yellow and got sweeter.

Brown berry – Winner!!! Nice red brown color. And the sweetest, juiciest tomatoes I have ever had. Highly recommended!




















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Thinning the seedlings

Tragically seedlings must be thinned. I had to have moral support to do this, because it just seems so wrong. I put about two seeds in each cup to prevent duds. Today I had to snip off the weaker ones to give the most vigorous one in each cup room to thrive. Waaah!

We’ll have to see if the chosen ones take off this week.


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Increased and improved germination

I am very excited to share that the use of the electric blanket under the seedling containers i talked about in a previous post (starting seeds indoors) seems to be dramatically increasing and improving germination. I started half the veggie seeds about a week before the second half. I only added the electric blanket under them when I started the second bunch. And that second bunch is sprouting much more quickly than the first bunch.


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Seeds are beginning to sprout

The seeds are starting to become seedlings! I think the habitat I made for them is to their liking!




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Starting seeds indoors

I’ve got 103 potential seedlings in these cups. 6 different cherry tomato varieties, 3 different chile types: one tepin type, and two high elevation New Mexico green chile types, a basil mix and eggplant. These are all difficult to grow in the 7,000 ft pine desert, but i have had success under the right conditions. We can see how it goes this year later in the season.


I popped a whole in the bottom of paper cups. I saved all the to-go cups I could and a devoted friend helped. She will be showered with seedlings for her loyalty!

I made a soil mix to try and match what we’ve got going on the in yard. Its rocky clay. We’ve tried to amend it with composted horse poop and our compost pile, but its still pretty rough conditions. My theory is to not make it too easy on them, so they aren’t as shocked when they go in the ground. We’ll see how that goes. I used a succulent potting mix combined with some local topsoil that was delivered for the raised bed for the hoophouse.


These clear plastic tubs were $4.5o. I used popsicle sticks so I can keep the names with the plants once they are in the garden. I’m going to see which varieties do best.








These seeds have a pretty high optimal temp for germination, about 85 degrees F for the tomatoes. They’ll grow at lower temps, but I think they just really like to be sure that they aren’t going to be screwed if they come out and its not warm enough for them to survive. I got an electric blanket on clearance  and put it under the plastic tubs to keep the seed cups warm. The blanket doesn’t get wet, so it’s safe.  I shouldn’t have to run it too long after the plants emerge, but its snowing today, so its pretty slick!



I keep the tops loosely on the plastic tubs so the warmth and moisture will stay in. Its working great.


And there they are, clean and easy, only taking up a little floor space in the bedroom. I can’t contain my excitement. Anyone who comes over, I immediately show them my ‘babies’. They’re all plant people so we all squeal with delight together.

I think that this is a reliable and streamlined approach to getting seeds going. I’ve had years of more rigged set ups and this is what my mistakes have taught me. PLUS>>> Its saves a lot of money compared to buying plants at a nursery and you’ll be able to start seeds that aren’t available there too. Please comment if you have other ideas!


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