Category Archives: Fall and Winter

My Favorite Tomatoes

Here it is – the annual 30 day countdown til spring! From now until the first day of spring, I will post ways to make the dreary days of midwinter a little more merry. Click the “Midwinter Merriment” category button on the right to see more merry things.

photoTomatoes are probably my favorite thing to grow. I love the challenge of growing them in this climate. I love trying to exceed the previous year’s harvest totals. I love using every trick and tool in my gardening bag of tricks to create the most optimal environment I can for these little gems. Growing tomatoes makes my inner garden nerd shine.

Over the past four years now, I have collected seeds from my homegrown heirloom tomatoes and sown them in my garden the following spring. I can’t tell you how much joy it brings me to tear open my own envelop of homegrown seeds. It’s some kind of magic. I usually try and grow a new variety every year, but I most definitely have some trusty favorites that will likely always have a place in my tomato bed. Here are my go-to heirlooms:

  • Stupice (hands down my earliest and most productive variety)
  • San Marzanos
  • Jean Flame (I’d grow these gems for their color alone!)
  • Cherokee Purple

What are your must-have tomato varieties?

Want to learn all my tried and true tomato-growing strategies? Sign up for my popular class, Tons of Tomatoes! It’s filling up fast! Click here for details and registration!

An Awesome New Use for My Digital Thermometer!

Here it is – the annual 30 day countdown til spring! From now until the first day of spring, I will post ways to make the dreary days of midwinter a little more merry. Click the “Midwinter Merriment” category button on the right to see more merry things.

IMG_3412It’s Day 21of Midwinter Merriment and what’s making me happy today is finally getting my butt in gear to start my spring seeds! The first step for me is always sterilizing my seed starting medium so that it’s ready to plant. Like I said in this post (did I mention it has a video tutorial in it?), the goal is to create the most optimal, artificial environment possible, so the seeds will germinate and the seedlings will thrive before they have to make the transition to the great outdoors. The biggest part of this process is getting the soil temperature to 140 – 180 degrees, which is warm enough to kill most plant viruses and plant pathogenic bacteria.

It’s usually a delicate dance of opening the oven door and checking the soil’s temperature over and over again until I know it’s at the optimal temperature. That’s important since once it has reached that range, it needs to stay there for 30 minutes to run its course. But yesterday, I came up with the most awesome solution that made this process a breeze – use my turkey thermometer! These awesome digital thermometer and timer sticks to the outside of the oven with magnets and can be set to go off when a certain temperature is reached. I set it for 140 and when the alarm went off, I set the timer for 30 minutes. I also set the alert to let me know when it reached 180 so I could remove the trays before they got too hot. Like I said, this made the work so amazingly easy! I only wish I would have thought of this earlier!

Midwinter Merriment: Joy Journals

Here it is – the annual 30 day countdown til spring! From now until the first day of spring, I will post ways to make the dreary days of midwinter a little more merry. Click the “Midwinter Merriment” category button on the right to see more merry things.

IMG_3394My love introduced me to Joy Journals a few months ago, an idea he was introduced to by relationship guru, Pat Allen. We each have one – a place to record all the things that make our hearts sing, what brings us joy. They feel like secret journals yet we both have free access to them. We put them in a special place on the nightstand, so we can write in them or read what the other person wrote whenever we feel inspired to do so.

ImageThey have been a super fun way to discover new things about each other and inspire us to find new ways to show our love for one another. Sometimes I draw pictures of the things I love. Other times I write paragraphs. Just the process of communicating about what makes me happy brings me joy. These journals are wonderful and can definitely make a grey, rainy day a little brighter.

Midwinter Merriment: Take a hike!

Here it is – the annual 30 day countdown til spring! From now until the first day of spring, I will post ways to make the dreary days of midwinter a little more merry. Click the “Midwinter Merriment” category button on the right to see more merry things.

IMG_3367I got to go on a hike the other day with a good friend of mine in Arizona. We went to Sabino Canyon in the Coronado National Forest. I got to soak up the Vitamin D I needed while getting an occasional reprieve from the sun in spots where the canyon blocked it from hitting the path.

IMG_3366The landscape is gorgeous, a very different kind of forest than I’m used to. Instead of evergreen trees, cacti fill the horizon. Of course, we headed straight to a restaurant for lunch as soon as our 7 mile hike was over. Eating after a workout is my favorite part.