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            1. Showing posts with label The Great American Tomato. Show all posts
              Showing posts with label The Great American Tomato. Show all posts

              Thursday, May 8, 2014

              Must Knows for Garden in a Bag

              If you haven't already read Garden in a Bag please check it out.
              Kids building Garden in a Bag
              The information that follows is what you need to know before starting your Garden in a Bag. The information below has been adjusted for the United States from the Kenyan method used there by Bridges International Development.

              Just a bit of planning is needed in order to make sure that you bag is a success. Also, don't forget to include your kids. This is a great project to teach them about people around the world as well as an opportunity to pray with them!  My kids (2yrs and  8yrs) really enjoyed building this bag. In fact, if we are able to get plenty bags, they want to plant their very own.

              Finding feedbags suitable for using as a Garden in a Bag
              White bag is example of what you need for
               Garden in a Bag
              The feed bags available in the United States are much smaller than Kenyan bags due to our unit of measurements being different. You will also want to be very cautious of the bag material.  Many birdseed bags or dog food bags look like they would work, but don't use them. The ones that I have found so far have a plastic outer coating that will not allow the water to percolate properly. The green bag in the photo is an example of what you don't want. It's fibers are tightly woven and it has a thick plastic outer coating.

              You are looking for a bag most likely from a feed store or mill that has a loose weave of the plastic fibers without any additional plastic coating on the inside or outside. The white bag in the photo is an example of what you do want.

              Burlap bags will not work for this method. They will deteriorate before the summer is over in most locations and disappoint you. They will also dry out too fast.

              Remember, if you are local and able you probably will be able to receive a bag from thechurch.at’s mission department.

              Placement of your Garden in a Bag
              First, let me say that if you are in an apartment or rent house this low cost Garden in a Bag method will work great!  If you happen to be on the other end of the spectrum and are a home gardener with an expansive vegetable garden - you know who you are - you no longer have grass in your yard because it is all growing beds - this method is for you also!

              Once you build your bag you will not be able to move it. The bag will have a center column of stones and be very heavy. This center column is vital for the bag to function properly and allow water to percolate though the entire bag. If you do manage to move your bag without ripping it most likely your center column will no longer be intact. 

              Placement is key.  You will be planting the entire diameter of your bag. So if everything you plant needs full sun, you want to make sure that your bag will be in full sun throughout the day.  This means morning sun would get ½ your bag and evening sun would shine on the other ½ giving you the full 6-8 hours of sun many garden vegetables need.  If you will only have partial sun then think about planting herbs or lettuces on the side that will receive limited sun. Limited sun will keep lettuces and herbs from bolting, especially when the summer gets hot.

              Plants for your Garden in a Bag
              This low-water high density planting method is great! You only have a couple of limiting factors, sunlight, and in the United States (due to bag size) plant size. If you would like to grow a tomato in your bag you will want to grow it in the top and use a patio variety or else plan on limiting it’s growth.  Remember that you probably don’t want your top plant shading your others (unless that is in your plan). 

              This bag will hold a ton of plants. My initial planting I had 7 plants to put in thinking that would come close to filling it up. I didn’t do any calculations – math just isn’t my favorite.  Needless to say, I will be going back with at least 6 or 7 more plants.  I started with a Ukrainian Purple Tomato, 2 Bell Peppers, 2 Mini Sweet Peppers, and 2 Strawberries. I plan to add Oregano and Black Opal Basil, Sweet Basil and possibly another Bell Pepper.
              Excess Food
              Most likely you will grow excess food. What do I mean by this, food that will spoil before you have a chance to use it. Please grow what you need and then be sure to share the rest! What a great a great way to start a conversation with that neighbor that maybe you've never talked with than giving them some of your fresh home grown garden vegies. Also, many food banks desperately need your donation, no matter what the size. If you are unsure of where to take your donation check out Ample Harvest. Food banks from around the country have signed up requesting home gardeners donations.

              Each time you go out to work in your Garden in a Bag pray for the people, the missions in Kenya and Bridges International Development.

              Coming Next… Step by Step Method for planting your Garden in a Bag

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              Tuesday, April 16, 2013

              Your Free Tomato Plant

              Were you one of the lucky people who ended up with a free tomato plant on Saturday? If so, don't forget to click on the tab on this blog titled "The Great American Tomato." This page has tons of info, tips and tricks, as well as a few of my favorite videos to make your gardening experience fun and fruitful.

              On Saturday, we potted up and gave away 72 Rutgers Tomato plants! They sure went fast.  During the first week in May those plants will be ready to plant in the ground outside. In June they will begin producing medium sized flavorful tomatoes.

              If you missed the event at the Tulsa Dream Center, don't worry you will have another chance in May to pick up a free tomato plant.

              Wednesday, February 13, 2013

              Buying Tomato Seeds

              Here are a few key things to know when you are buying tomato seeds. Not all that appears equal really is!

              Determinate vs. Indeterminate
              Just think of this as do you want all of your tomatoes ripe within a few days of each other, or do you want the plant to produce small amounts of tomatoes all season long?  Determinate plants fruit ripens all at once, so if you want tomatoes all season long you will need to stagger your plantings of tomatoes about two or three weeks apart. 

              If you are participating in The Great American Tomato project and are going to donate plants I highly recommend growing indeterminate plants. That way the family that receives your plant can enjoy tomatoes for several months.

              Seeds per packet
              Some packets will tell you how many plants you can expect to grow from a single packet, and others will only have the seed weight on the packet. So don't be fooled, the least expensive one can actually cost more.

              Hybrid vs. Heirloom vs. Standard Varieties
              From Standard and Heirloom varieties tomato seeds can be kept from the tomatoes and plants just like the one the tomato came from can be grown.  If you try and grow a tomato plant from a hybrid seed that was saved from a tomato, you will not grow the same plant.

              Vine vs. Bush
              Bush tomatoes especially dwarf varieties make great patio plants. Vine varieties need more space than what you can typically provide in a patio pot. 

              If you are participating in The Great American Tomato project both Vine & Bush plants are needed.

              My Related Posts:
              Jelly Bean Tomato Plant Give Away!
              Buying Tomato Seeds
              Are your Jelly Bean Tomatoes Ripe?

              This is the Variety I grow.

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              Friday, February 8, 2013

              Join Glory Gardening on Facebook!

              Glory Gardening now on Facebook!  Please be among the first to join Glory Gardening on Facebook. Doing so will make it easier to share your favorite articles, keep up with events and raise awareness of The Great American Tomato Project.

              Just click here and then Like the Page!  Even better - post a note!

              Monday, February 4, 2013

              What type of tomato plant should I grow?

              Compact Red Robin Cherry
              Deciding what type of tomato plant to grow is a complicated decision. The selection of tomato plants and seeds at the store can be very overwhelming. 

              When picking a plant or seed the most important consideration to take into account is your space. Most other characteristics of tomatoes can be found in either a compact patio plant variety or a full size traditional plant. Once you have made the decision between patio vs. full size plant the other choices are just a matter of preference. 

              Your next decision is to choose between Heirloom vs. Hybrid vs. Commercially available pants and seeds.

              Product Details
              Multi Color Heirloom Tomatoes

              Heirloom Tomatoes
              As the Heirloom name suggests, these are seeds that have been around quite a long time, often passed down for generations.  The seeds from the strongest plants are kept for the next planting season. With the Heirloom verities you have an array of colors and flavors to choose from. Many of these plants do not produce your typical store bought tomatoes. Heirloom varieties make a beautiful addition to any garden and have flavors from very sweet to even smoky meat. These are believed by many growers to have the best and most unique flavors in the tomato world. Heirloom tomatoes also tend to not ripen at the same time, allowing for enjoyment all summer long. These seeds are popping up in seed displays at garden centers and even more varieties are available online.

              Sweetie Seedless Hybrid Tomato
              Hybrid Tomatoes 
              Hybrid tomatoes have been genetically engineered for specific characteristics, such as more yield and earlier bloom time.  The seeds from these plants will not produce plants like their parents, meaning a new packet of seed must be purchased each year. These tomatoes may or may not ripen at the same time. On the seed packet you will see a “h1” or something similar denoting that it is a hybrid variety.

              Commercially Available
              Commercially available plants are the quick and easy to find plants you will find at Lowes, Walmart or other hardware store that sells seeds and starter plants.  These will produce your typical store bought tomatoes.  These tomatoes often ripen at close to the same time.

              My Related Posts:
              Jelly Bean Tomato Plant Give Away!
              Buying Tomato Seeds
              Are your Jelly Bean Tomatoes Ripe?

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              Monday, January 21, 2013

              Free Plant Seeds

              You can come by free plant seeds a variety of ways.  In fact there are many seeds that you can’t just go to the store and purchase.

              Free Pepper Seeds - 2wks after planting 
              Earlier this month I was eager to start my indoor vegetable garden. I jumped in the car and headed over to my local plant store.  Unfortunately, I was about 2 months too early; they don’t have any seeds or their displays out until early February I was told.

              So, what did I do? Remembering that had been successful in growing bell peppers from the seeds that I had harvested from grocery store bought produce, I broke out the sweet peppers I had in the fridge.  Now you must understand that growing seed from a vegetable that was mass grown is a gamble.  Mass produced plants are often hybridized, or have very specific growing conditions, so don’t set your hopes too high.  But many people, including me, have been successful and happy growing fruit and veggies from seeds collected right out of their fridge.

              Sweet Pepper Seeds in Greenhouse
              Some free ways to get seeds:
              Seed swap with friends
              Collect from raw produce you purchase to eat
              Collect from nature walks
              Collect from your own garden
              Leftovers from last year’s seeds

              Don’t forget to use your pop bottles to make your own free greenhouses.  See my article titled “Make your own Greenhouse out of a Pop Bottle” from January 2013.

              Saturday, December 22, 2012

              Grow tomatoes on your windowsill

              Do you miss the taste of fresh home grown tomatoes in the winter? Have you read my post titled, “Windowsill Gardening: Your Indoor Vegetable Garden?” Are you eager to plant some tomatoes to grow indoors but aren’t sure what to plant?
              Orange Pixie Tomatoes
              Red Robin Cherry Tomatoes
              These are a few of the varieties that are suited to grow on your windowsill:
              Toy Boy
              Small Fry
              Tiny Tim
              Red Robin Cherry

              How to Grow Tomatoes on Your Windowsill 

              Materials Needed:
              Potting Mix
              Well lit windowsill
              You will want to start a couple of seeds just as you would with any seeds. Place the seed in the potting mix covered with a bit of the mix (per package instructions).  Keep potting mix damp, but not soggy.  The seeds should sprout in 5 to 10 days. 

              To help aid germination, you can create a greenhouse (trapping heat) effect by keeping your pot covered with a translucent plastic cover. You could use the top ½ of a Coke bottle over your pot until your seeds sprout. 

              After your seeds spout, make sure the seeds get plenty of light from your windowsill and that you turn the plant regularly. Also, make sure that the temperature in the window doesn’t drop below 50 degrees at night. If it does either move it to another location at night or try a different window (does only the North window drop below 50 degrees and maybe the South one doesn’t?)

              If you have room or plan to grow more than one plant and are keeping it for yourself, you will want to start the seeds a few weeks apart in order to space your production of tomatoes.

              What should you do with your remaining seeds? Are you participating in the Great American Tomato Project? If you are able, germinate a few of your remaining seeds and give the plants away to someone who needs food assistance.

              Related Articles:
              Buying Tomato Seeds
              Make your own Greenhouse out of a Pop Bottle
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              Thursday, December 6, 2012

              The Great American Tomato Project

              Today I would like to introduce and invite you to participate in The Great American Tomato Project.  So, save your seed planting containers & pots!  Egg cartons are great planters & 2 liter pop bottles are great greenhouses… more to come on that in a few weeks.

              We have all heard the Chinese Proverb, Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day, but teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.  Well, that’s what The Great American Tomato Project is all about. This project is not only about getting food into the hands of hungry people, but also teaching them how to grow their own food. With very little fuss it is a great plant for non-gardeners to get a start with. 
              Tomato plants are some of the easiest and least expensive plants to grow.  Depending on the variety it is not uncommon to get upwards of 40lbs of food from a single plant. The cost to grow a plant through its life cycle from seed is estimated to be less than $1.50. Let that one sink in… close to 40lbs of food for about a dollar and a half.  

              Even if the plant does terrible due to lack of care, say only growing only a few pounds of tomatoes. The recipient had no out of pocket cost, no doubt learned something along the way, and ate a few healthy vegetables.

              The Plan:
              In February we are asking experienced gardeners (or anyone wanting to participate) to start however many tomato plants from seed that they feel they can handle. The gardener will choose which variety they will grow until it is time to donate the plant.  If a variety is grown that is meant to remain as a potted plant (patio plant) then we would ask that the gardener donate the plant in a full size pot. The recipient of the tomato plant will most likely not have the resources or knowledge to repot the plant into a larger container.

              There are many organizations that would really appreciate the donation of plants as well as your produce. I know the food banks in Oklahoma accept these donations. They were on Oklahoma Gardening over the summer of 2012 asking for these. I know many of you live outside of Oklahoma. As you donate your plants, please post a comment below.  Do not feel like you are toughing that you are doing this by any means, we need your comment so that others will know where they can donate and we are not duplicating work.

              How this will look in my home:
              We are going to start with a dozen tomato plants.  We are going to sow ½ a variety that will remain in pots & ½ a variety that will eventually be planted.  Sometime between March and April, depending on the weather we are going to give these plants away.  We are going to donate our plants to the faith based organization that is located at a college close to our home where we normally donate our vegetables.  

              Thursday, November 29, 2012

              Where it all began

              As I was watching my weekly fix of Oklahoma Gardening on TV I was struck by a segment on the Oklahoma Food Bank and others desperately needing fresh produce. The brief segment, aimed at home gardeners, asked them to donate their extra crops to their local food bank.

              At the time I had already been taking my extra produce, mainly cantaloupe & tomatoes, to a Faith Based student group at a local college that operates on 100% donated food.  When they don’t have food, they can’t operate and people miss meals.
              I realized that I had been called to do more. In the beginning I thought it was to just plant some extra plants. Then I realized that using my God given gifts, I needed to raise awareness and enlist others in this worthy cause.  Alone I am limited by what I can physically plant and harvest, but united we can do so much more. Together, we can make a substantial impact on hunger and health across America. 

              I’m not talking about ditching the grass and filling your backyard with food producing plants, just planning a few extra plants and donating those crops.  Even if you don’t have a yard, you can make an impact by container gardening indoors or out.
              By utilizing the information this blog aims to provide, we will have fun and be more efficient gardeners.  Saving time and money, though healthy organic gardening practices we will grow and give more. 

              Please join us!