How to Grow Super Healthy Tomatoes in Containers: Using Organic Techniques

I have always used banana peels with my roses but never thought of using them for tomatoes! What she says about the egg shells, I have always done this. There have been times when it looks like it snowed around my tomato plants because of all the egg shells I’ve crushed up and worked into the soil.

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Old-Fashioned Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

So, do you have canned carrots (or you could use older fresh carrots) that turned to mush and you don’t know what to do with them?  How about make a carrot cake!  I’m also thinking this may be good with canned pumpkin and/or canned sweet potato.

Update: I just made this (muffins instead of cake … baked for 15 to 20 minutes) and they are amazing!  They aren’t spike-your-blood-sugar sweet and so flavorful!  This recipe is a keeper.  I made some changes that I will note here:

  1. Replaced 1/2 cup of the flour with almond flour
  2. Replaced the remaining flour (1 cup) with 1/3 cup of wheat germ (Why?  Because I had some)
  3. Reduced the milk to 1/4 cup due to the excess liquid in my carrots
  4. Reduced the total added sweetener by half (so, 3/4 cup total), then replaced 1/4 cup of the brown sugar with Splenda
  5. Substituted all-spice for the nutmeg (Why?  Because I didn’t have any nutmeg)

Note: I had one quart of thickly cut home canned carrots and ended up with about 1 1/2 cups of mashed carrots.  I adjusted the recipe accordingly.

I may or may not make the frosting but if I do, it will be with mostly Splenda with a bit of powdered sugar (I have come to the conclusion that Splenda tends to get bitter if using a lot … mostly because I kept trying to slip some in hubby’s coffee and he immediately noticed).

http://www.daringgourmet.com/2014/02/18/old-fashioned-carrot-cake-with-cream-cheese-frosting/

For Cake:
½ cup walnuts
1 cup pureed carrots (boil just under a pound of carrots until soft; drain and cool, then puree in a food processor.)
1½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1½ cups firmly packed light brown sugar
½ cup whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
2 teaspoons freshly grated orange zest (be careful to avoid the white pith of the orange, it’s bitter)
½ cup raisins

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
¾ cup powdered sugar
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Mushroom Barley Soup

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Mushroom-Barley-Soup-993

Ingredients
    1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
    1 pound mushrooms, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
    2 large carrots, chopped
    2 large celery stalks, chopped
    1 onion, chopped
    1/2 cup pearl barley, rinsed

    2 tablespoons all purpose flour
    8 cups canned vegetable broth
    1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
    1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill or 1 teaspoon dried dillweed

Split Pea and Green Pea Soup with Fresh Dill

This is a rarity for me: a Vegan recipe!  I know, don’t faint.  🙂

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Split-Pea-and-Green-Pea-Soup-with-Fresh-Dill-236775

Ingredients

    3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    1 large leek (white and pale green parts only), chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
    1 bay leaf
    1 cup green split peas, rinsed
    5 3/4 cups vegetable broth, divided

    1 cup frozen petite green peas, thawed
    5 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, divided

PVC Pipe Soaker “Hose” Systems

So, I was sent the first link via email and I just think it’s brilliant! This will save us tons of water while watering deep enough to keep the plants in the raised beds we’re going to build happy throughout our hot summers. The first one is for row crops:

http://thewrinkleddollar.com/garden/drip-irrigation.html

And this video lays out how to do this for raised beds!

This guy did this setup but for his containers:

Have a Small Space? Grow Vertical!

A friend mentioned that she has a tiny little area to grow any food, so I suggested she grow vertically. I don’t really do this now but may have to since I will be using raised beds this year. I’ve seen so many neat ideas over the past few months that I’m trying to find all the links to share with you (and her). Well, I was going to find a single picture to post here but when I did my Google search (“vertical gardening”) and clicked images I was in awe! There are so many creative ideas out there that I just can’t list them all (so check out the photos yourself here).

This is pretty much what I did when I was growing in containers (I posted pictures of my truck garden in 2011).

And here’s a video with several ideas (that’ pretty much the way the rest of these links are going to be … several ideas in one article):

http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/video/8639243-green-expert-nick-federoffs-tips-on-vertical-gardening/

This one demonstrates how to build a growing “wall” (I love links with pictures or video) AND it’s Popular Mechanics!

http://www.popularmechanics.com/home/how-to-plans/how-to-start-a-vertical-garden#slide-1

Here are two ways to reuse soda bottles:

DIY: Hanging Plastic Bottle Planter

DIY Vertical Gardening

Here are two ways to use shoe hangers:

VERTICAL VEGETABLES: “Grow up” in a small garden and confound the cats!

Turn a Shoe Organizer Into a Vertical Planter

And two ways to reuse pallets:

diy project: recycled pallet vertical garden

Pot hangers (third example down)

This one has a lot of different ideas (and if you look at the bottom of the second link, she has a few more articles about vertical gardening:

Small Garden Design Idea: Maximize Vertical Spaces

How to Design Creative Vertical Gardens

There are several projects on the DIY Network’s website but this one I particularly like, since you can change it around easier:

How to Grow a Vertical Vegetable Garden

Here are their top 10 vertical gardening projects:

http://www.diynetwork.com/topics/vertical-gardening/index.html

And now, for some eye candy! This looks like Pinterest specifically for Home and Garden:

http://happyhouseandgarden.com/categories/12265/vertical-gardening-ideas

Growing the eternal tomato

Now, how sweet would it be to never run out of tomatoes? I know my favorite snack has always been tomatoes warmed from the sun, right off the vine. Check out this article to learn how to extend your tomato season!

http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles/trebor57.html