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RE: Raised gardening bed (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: CharlieBoring on 02.26.2014 at 12:21 pm in Oklahoma Gardening Forum

Your plants will only use about 6 inches of soil. So a good approach is to have your walls at least 8 inches high. I use the layering method; Layer 1) Carboard to prevent weeds and grass, 2) compost; 3) top soil, 4)Compost and manure, 5) Leaf mulch. I used landscape blocks for the walls. Here are pictures of one of my beds.

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clipped on: 02.27.2014 at 03:13 am    last updated on: 02.27.2014 at 03:15 am

RE: Gulf Frits ---Sandy and Susan (Follow-Up #6)

posted by: butterflymomok on 07.31.2013 at 10:54 pm in Oklahoma Gardening Forum

That's OK, Lisa. I figure they'll make it up here eventually. Watched a Variegated Frit laying eggs today. And, I've released over a hundred Monarchs in the last two weeks. So I'm staying busy. Also have Spicebush chrysalides, Gorgone caterpillars, Goatweed Leafwing cats, Black Swallowtails, and Pipevines out the wazoo! And I forgot, a Cloudless Sulphur chrysalis! The garden is staying busy. Today the butts and the hummers were chasing each other, so I enjoyed watching them.

Sandy

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clipped on: 08.02.2013 at 02:05 am    last updated on: 08.02.2013 at 02:06 am

RE: Freeze tomatoes (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: okiedawn on 06.21.2012 at 07:27 pm in Oklahoma Gardening Forum

Sammy,

I've linked the page from the National Center for Home Food Preservation that describes how to freeze tomatoes. There are different ways depending on what you want to do with them when you take them out of the freezer.

Some of us throw whole, washed tomatoes into freezer bags and freeze them. We take them out later remove the skin and core and cook with them or can them, using them for salsa or to make spagetti sauce, tortilla soup, vegetable soup, chili or whatever. That's one way to accumulate enough tomatoes for a canning batch, or it is a way to put off having to deal with a flood of tomatoes until we have more time available.

When frozen tomatoes are thawed, they still will taste like tomatoes. Their texture will be completely different--mushy if fully thawed. If you intend to eat them as slices on sandwiches or burgers, you might want to try slicing them, putting them on a cookie sheet or plate and putting them into the freezer long enough to freeze them, and then removing them from the cookie sheet or plat and putting them in freezer bags to store. When you thaw them out, only thaw them out about half way and eat them half-frozen so they still have some firmness when you eat them.

When I freeze regular tomatoes, I don't intend to use them as a substitute for fresh, sliced tomatoes. It is my intent to use them in cooking in some form or fashion. When I want to freeze tomatoes to eat in salads or sandwiches, or right out of hand as snacks, I dehydrate them first and remove much of the water before freezing them. I don't dehydrate themdown to 5% moisture like I would if I was going to store them in a jar in the pantry. I usually dehydrate them down to about 20% moisture, but some people like to dehydrate themdown to only 50% moisture to freeze and thaw later for sandwiches. I've never done that before, but might try it this year since we have such a big crop and I'm getting tired of canning them.

You also can make salsa or tomato sauce or pureed tomatoes and then freeze it in freezer boxes or freezer jars instead of canning it.

You can purchase Mrs. Wage's tomato mixes and easily turn a few pans of tomatoes into frozen or canned pasta sauce, pizza sauce, chili base, salsa, catsup etc. One thing I like about Mrs. Wage's mixes is that they can be safely frozen for up to a year if you don't want to can them. I buy Mrs. Wage's at my local Wal-Mart and so far this year I've made catsup and chili base and am getting ready to make pizza sauce next week. We'll be enjoying our tomatoes in many forms over the next year.

There's lots of ways to freeze tomatoes, but the finished product you get does not even come close to being the same as fresh tomatoes. With the bite-sized tomatoes, I always dehydrate them before freezing them because if you just freeze them and take them out to thaw, they're just little bags of mush when they thaw, so are good only for cooking, not fresh eating. With the dehydrated ones, I sometimes toss them dry right into salads or soups and sometimes I rehydrate them in a cup of water for a while before eating them. Because they had much of the water removed from them when I dehydrated them, they're not as mushy as frozen ones that were frozen with all their water still in them.

How do you know it is summertime at our house? There's cookies sheets of tomatoes dehydrating in the oven and a pot of sauce bubbling away on top of the stove several days a week. I love summertime because the whole house smells like fresh tomatoes.

Dawn

Here is a link that might be useful: NCHFP: How To Freeze Tomatoes


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clipped on: 01.23.2013 at 06:51 pm    last updated on: 01.23.2013 at 06:52 pm