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My method for growing tomatoes from seed

Posted by on Feb 4, 2016 in gardening, tomatoes galore | 0 comments

Even after all these years in the garden I am awestruck that a tiny seed, not even ¼ inch long, can not only grow into an eight foot tall plant, but also provide us with something so incredibly delicious and healthy to eat!

Growing anything from seed is a magical experience. Growing tomatoes from seed provides the magic and allows you to grow some special varieties that you won’t find at most nurseries or seedling sales (there’s no way they can have them all)!

To start tomatoes from seed you need to have seeds, growing medium, light, a warm place for the seeds to grow, water and some plastic bags.

The growing medium for seed should not be garden soil or potting soil. Don’t use anything that has fertilizer in it. I use a mixture of equal parts peat, perlite and vermiculite. These ingredients are all easily found at the local nursery.

The growing medium needs to be kept consistently warm, about 85 degrees. It needs to remain moist but not soggy. Once I plant the seeds ¼ inch into the medium I cover the seedling trays loosely with plastic but do not tie or close the bags. They should not be airtight.

When the seedlings emerge I introduce light. Keep the light about 4 inches from the tiny leaves. Fertilizing begins when the second set of leaves, called true leaves appear. In about 30 days the seedlings will be ready to moved to larger containers.

Before planting outdoors you want to harden off the seedlings, exposing them to increasing amounts of sun and wind.

Seedlings can be transplanted into the ground once the soil temperature is consistently about 55 degrees and daytime air temperatures remain between 70 – 75 degrees.

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Rough Weather Got You Worried About Your Tomato Garden This Year?

Posted by on Mar 4, 2014 in classes, News and Events, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Don’t despair – Knowing how to prepare your soil and water effectively will allow your tomato garden to flourish this summer!

It’s been a tough winter across the country…Some are enduring one polar vortex after another and here on the west coast, with almost no snow to speak of, we’re wondering how we’re going to be able to garden at all without any water.

It’s sad to think that we may have to amend our gardening plans and possibly not enjoy that activity that brings us so much pleasure, not to mention really tasty gifts from the garden this summer!

Don’t despair, though. Knowing how to water your tomatoes and how to make your soil work for you will allow you to grow a great crop this year!

Whether you’re a tomato novice or a seasoned grower in the Southern California area,  you’ll want to learn how to grow in this unique growing climate. That’s why we’re offering our garden tour and TOMATO ‘SSENTIALS class at a reduced price this year. We want you to be successful in the garden, not just wishing you could be! The class will be held on Sunday, March 16, in the Tomato Matters Garden. In this class you’ll learn Six “Ssential” Steps for Tomato Success, yes, the ‘Ssentials for growing great tomatoes!

There’s lots of new information so the class is perfect for the first time grower as well as those experienced gardeners who need a refresher or to be updated. You’ll go home with a complete handout and a tomato plant to get your garden started.

Best of all, we’ve lowered the price of the class so more people can participate. Even more great tomato information at a better price. You don’t want to miss it!

For time, price and to reserve your spot for this fun morning in the garden, click here.  See you in the garden!

Tomato Growing Essentials

 

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New Year’s Resolutions For Tomato Growers

Posted by on Dec 29, 2012 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Ahh, New Year’s. A time to reflect, a time to look forward and a time to make resolutions so the New Year can be even better than the last.  Don’t forget to think about your garden when making your resolutions. To start things off, I’ve come up with some great New Year’s resolutions for tomato growers to ensure the best tomatoes ever.

So, here they are – My suggestions for The Tomato Grower’s New Years Resolutions!

Tempting though it may be…Even though the sun is shining and it feel’s like spring, I will not give in to the urge to plant tomatoes outside early in March.  (Remember, soil and nighttime temperature needs to be about 55 degrees)

I will plan to and actually allow three feet in between tomato plants. Yes! Three feet!  The reasons are many.  Tomatoes have big root systems and need lots of soil around them to keep healthy. Additionally, good air circulation for foliage and growing fruit will help reduce disease and improve health.

New Years Resolutions for Tomato GrowersI will properly support my tomatoes with stakes (for the center stem) and cages or trellis for heavy branches and fruit.  That means no flimsy cages better suited to growing flowers than six-foot high tomato plants. Without some help from you heavy branches will break and fruit will rot on the ground.

I will feed my tomatoes regularly with a well balanced, organic fertilizer.  I know you want to buy that familiar brand that’s on sale at the big box store.  Don’t do it!  I promise, it’s worth the extra expense to use the good stuff.  You’ll produce healthier plants with more fruit to harvest, and more of the nutrients will be in the tomatoes than if you use the other stuff.  ‘Nuff said?

Now, here’s the hard one. I want feedback from all of you on this. I want to know if you actually stuck to it!

I will not, no matter how hot it is and no matter how thirsty my plants look, I will not over water my tomatoes! Tomatoes do not want, need or do well with daily watering. Don’t do it!

When I first plant, I water my tomatoes twice a week.  That’s a very deep soak.  If you’re not in sunny Southern California, make that once a week. After one month, I take my cues from the plants.     If they’re droopy early in the New Year's Resolutions for Tomato Growersmorning, they need to be watered. If not, leave them alone.  Take a leap of faith and trust me on this!

Of course there will be more detailed tips as we get closer to planting season, but in the meantime, Happy New Year to tomato growers everywhere!

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Gardener’s Holiday Wish List Day 8 – 2013 Tomato Growing Guide Calendar

Posted by on Dec 14, 2012 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

My favorite holiday gift for every tomato lover!

This may be really obvious…but I’m suggesting the 2013 Tomato Growing Guide Calendar as the perfect holiday gift for tomato lovers because it is just that! 

Tomato Growing Guide and Calendar

Created just for tomato lovers, the 2013 Tomato Growing Guide Calendar serves two really important functions.  Yes, it is a monthly calendar for the new year and there is plenty of space on each date to note events and appointments.

Calendar Pages InsideIn addition, each page of the year includes a beautiful picture – all are photos taken by me in my garden.  Every month also has details about what to do in your tomato garden and it’s coded for different growing regions across the country. There are 17 years worth of tips and suggestions that I share from my tomato growing experience. With ample room to jot down notes it also becomes a helpful record keeper.  This is most definitely a helpful tool for everyone growing tomatoes.

The 2013 Tomato Growing Guide Calendar hits home with tomato growers and people who simply love to enjoy eating tomatoes. The recipes included are easy to prepare and delicious. Whether you grow tomatoes and need the gentle reminders about tomato care or have fond memories of hand-picking vine ripened tomatoes in your Grandfather’s garden this is a gift that’s sure to please.

Tomato Growing Guide Calendars are shipped via US Mail unless you have some special delivery needs (we aim to please). 

To order, click here!

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2013 Tomato Growing Guide Calendar Now Available!

Posted by on Sep 28, 2012 in News and Events, Uncategorized | 0 comments

We’ve gone live ahead of schedule and we’re ready to fill your orders for 2013 Tomato Growing Guide~Calendars placed on Amazon!

Order yours today!
2013 Tomato Growing Guide~Calendar!
Order your 2013 Tomato Growing Guide~Calendar Here

It’s time to purchase your 2013 Tomato Growing Guide and Calendar, your customized guide to growing delicious tomatoes anywhere in the country! We’re kicking off calendar sales on Amazon with a really great deal for you!

 

 Remember those Mighty ‘Matos, the grafted tomato plants I’ve been raving about? To thank you for ordering  your calendar before October 15  we’re going to send  you the Coupon Code to save $10 on your order of Mighty ‘Matos from GardenLife.  Start growing earlier, extend your growing season, enjoy disease resistant tomato plants and harvest more tomatoes than ever!
 
Are You in Los Angeles??
If you’re in the L.A.  area on Monday come celebrate the Amazon launch with us!  
Join us at the hottest new restaurant in Studio City,  Pizza Rev, and sample some of their custom made pizza with homemade dough,  a selection of sauces, incredibly fresh ingredients on a thin, crispy crust!  We’ll give away free tomato recipes and have an all around good time!
Monday, October 1
6 -8 pm
Pizza Rev
12103 Ventura Boulevard
Studio City

Not in the area?? Share the invitation with your tomato loving friends that are!
All tomato lovers are welcome!
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