facebook pinterest twitter google instagram rss

5 Must Know Tips for Transplanting Tomato Plants

Homegrown tomatoes are the best!! And it’s not that hard to grow them, but you can do a few things that make a big difference in growing successful tomatoes from the very beginning. To get your tomato seedlings off to the best possible start, you must know these five tips for transplanting tomatoes! It all starts with the transplanting.Must know tips for planting tomato seedlings

*This post contains affiliate links which means I earn a small commission on your purchase.*

Welcome back to Tuesdays in the Garden! Today, you’re in for a treat. Not only do we have lots of great gardening tips to help you get your spring planting right, but we also have a few homemade gifts you can quickly put together, just in time for Mother’s Day! Make sure to read to the end of the post and check out all the great ideas from my dear gardening friends.

5 Must Know Tips for Transplanting Tomato Plants

Have you planted your tomatoes yet? It’s generally safe to plant them around your frost free date.  Our official frost free date (May 15) is right around the corner, but I always check the long range weather forecast before deciding when to tansplant my tomato plants. Fro the last three years, we have had a killing frost after May 15, so quite often, transplanting tomato plants has to wait. If you’re looking forward to transplanting tomato plants, too, make sure you read these must know tips!

pinch off bottom leaves
1 .Dig a deep hole and pinch off the tomato plants’ lower leaves.

I like to plant my tomatoes deep for a couple reasons. First, it’s super windy out here in the Iowa Prairie and planting them deeply gives them better support from the wind. It  allows roots to develop all along the tomato stem which helps make the plant stronger. So, dig a hole deep enough that only the top leaves will be showing on the ground. Pinching off the lower leaves also encourages roots to develop too, so carefully pinch off the leaves before you put the seedling in the hole.

Make sure to support the stem as you cover it with dirt. Be careful when you’re covering the plant with dirt so you don’t accidentally harm the little seedling. I like to support the stem with one had and fill the hole with dirt with the other hand. You don’t want to break the stem as you cover it – I’ve done it and it makes me very sad. Make sure you cover the seedling up to the top leaves.

2. Wondering how far apart to plant tomatoes?

Make sure you give your tomatoes enough space to grow.

  1. Dwarf tomato varieties only need to be about 1′ apart, with 2′ – 3′ between rows.
  2. If you’re staking your tomato plants, they’ll need about 2′ of separation to grow, with 2′ – 3′ between rows.
  3. Using large cages? They’ll need to be about 3′ apart, and probably 4′-5′ between rows.
  4. Want to let your tomatoes grow without support? You’ll need a lot of room! About 3-4′ between plants, and 4′-5′ between rows.

water the tomatoes after planting

3. Water tomato plants generously after planting.

Newly planted seedlings need a nice drink of water immediately after planting so make sure you water right away. I like to make an indent in the dirt around the plant so the water stays near the seedling instead of running away. You’ll want to continue watering for a few days if you don’t get a rain pretty quickly after planting.

mulch tomatoes

4. Mulch right away.

Since you’ve gone through the effort of planting tomatoes, just go ahead and mulch them right away. I’m often tempting to skip this step and get to it later, but I’ve found later sometimes never comes. Mulching right away is a great way to keep down the weeds and it also helps keep them moist. I used old hay we got for free in this picture, but a better mulch is straw because it’s weed free. My hay is very, very old, so I hope nothing will sprout from it. I could be wrong though, and end up seriously regretting the use of this old hay. I’ll let you know if that’s the case!

support tomatoes with homemade tomato cages

5. Add a support trellis or basket immediately.

Another key to tomato success,  is to add support right away. Tomatoes like to be supported and I know from experience that if I don’t support them right after planting, I won’t ever get back to it. Pretty soon I end up with a huge tomato jungle – and while I don’t think that’s a terrible thing, it does make picking the beautiful fruits more difficult and a lot of them end of smashed by my big feet. In years past, I used these homemade tomato baskets last year. They are easy to make and easy to use, but they take up a lot of space so you need a large growing area if you want to use homemade tomato baskets.

tomato trellis from moss mountain farm

This year I am hoping to use these homemade support systems I saw a Moss Mountain Farms. I love that this tomato system takes up less room than my huge cages and I think it’s awfully pretty too! Also, it’s a way to grow more tomatoes in less space since you don’t have to set the tomatoes so far apart. Do you have a favorite tomato trellis you like to use?

And that’s the start to a successful tomato season! Have you planted your tomatoes yet? I’d love to hear your ideas for success too. 

tuesdays in the garden

Tuesdays in the Garden

Want more garden tips from my friends from around the web. Make sure you click over to everyone’s posts and check out what’s going on in different parts of the country! We’ve got a couple homemade gift ideas that might be perfect for Mother’s Day this weekend, as well as growing tips too!

frugal family home

Shelly from Frugal Family Home is sharing a mini green house idea for small spaces!

hearth and vine

Patti from Hearth and Vine is sharing a cute DIY Gazing Ball – what a great gift is this?

an oregon cottageJami at An Oregon Cottage is sharing her homemade Salad Dressing Gift Basket

homemade food junkie

Diane from Homemade Food Junkie is sharing tips for growing strawberries in DIY towers

angie freckled rose

Angie the Freckled Rose is sharing tips for adding visual interest in your garden!

If you liked this post with tips for transplanting tomatoes, you might like these post too.

7 Methods of Natural Weed Control for a Weed-Free Garden

Companion plants you must have in your vegetable garden

How to grow a three sisters garden

How to kill cucumber beetles organically

Top 10 Plants for Early Spring Harvest

If you’re trying to eat local, in-season food, make sure to include these top ten plants for early spring harvest. They will yield the first food in the spring so you can have farm fresh produce as soon as possible.

top 10 plants for early spring harvest

*This post contains affiliate links which means I earn a small commission from your purchase.*

One of my long term life dreams is to eat only locally grown and produced food, like Barbara Kingsolver did in her book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle {one of my most favorite books of all times}. At first thought, it sounds kind of doable, right? I mean, I have a big garden, and I have egg and meat chickens. I’ve also found a source for local pastured pork and organic, local, grassfed beef. But the logistics are really a lot more complicated than my pea-brain can handle. And it would take a REALLY REALLY REALLY big garden to produce enough food to feed my family of six. Maybe some day.

For now, I will be content to do what I can, and that means maximizing every growing season, and this post starts with spring! Enjoy my list of the top 10 plants to consider if you want to get the earliest possible harvest out of your garden.

Top 10 Plants for Early Spring Harvest

bowl of strawberries and asparagus in the grass

Early Spring Perennials

I love perennials because I can plant them once, and reap the rewards for years! It’s also a bonus that a few garden perennials produce some of the earliest food in the spring, so make sure to include them in your garden.

Rhubarb – it seems a lot of people have a love/hate relationship with rhubarb, but I love it. It’s also ready for picking sooner than most other fruits and is delicious in crisps, scones, and made into syrup too!

Strawberries – strawberries are the first berries to ripen, usually late May or early June in my area. Nothing beats a fresh strawberry right out of the garden! And since conventionally grown strawberries are some of the most pesticide laden fruits grown, we prefer to grow our own.

asparagus on a sheet pan for roasting

Asparagus – asparagus is ready for a full harvest the third year after it’s planted. It’s one of the earliest crops of spring – so delicious!! We look forward to fresh asparagus every year.

Spring Veggies to Plant before the Last Frost

Spring Onions / Potatoes – can be directly sown from seed six weeks before the last frost if the ground is workable. Onions grow quickly and the greens can be cut pretty soon after they start growing. If you leave the bulb in the ground and just cut the greens, they will even grow new greens for you!

Potatoes are generally ready for harvest a little later, but you can carefully collect new potatoes without disturbing the plant ten weeks after the potatoes were planted. We use the no-dig planting method to grow potatoes. Learn more here.

Spinach / Kohlrabi / Kale – can be directly sown from seed five weeks before the last frost date. It’s especially important to plant spinach early as it needs six cool weeks to reach maturity and bolts quickly in hot weather.

Peas / Radish / Carrots – can be directly sown from seed four weeks before last frost date. Peas also don’t do well in hot weather, so make sure to plant them as quickly as possible. Every year I have volunteer radish crops in my garden because I let some go to seed in the summer. They are some of the first fresh veggies we eat!

Forellensuss Lettuce

Lettuce / Swiss Chard – can be directly sown from seed two weeks before last frost date. I also have volunteer lettuce in my garden from time to time and love it! Fresh lettuce is just delicious.

Check your seed packets to see which varieties mature the quickest. Some radishes are ready within 25 days! And lettuce is very quick growing too.

A collage of  pictures including strawberries in a bowl, forelenschuss lettuce, and a basket of eggs and lettuce harvest.

What plants do you look forward to most in spring?

Brussel Sprouts with Bacon, Pine Nuts & Parmesan Cheese

This recipe for Brussel Sprouts with Bacon, Pine Nuts & Parmesan Cheese is simply delicious! It’s the perfect addition to any holiday meal and it makes a nice side dish for week night dinners as well. It’s not to hard to make and it’s definitely one of my favorite ways to eat brussel sprouts.
Brussel Sprouts with Bacon, Pine Nuts & Parmesan Cheese

*This recipe contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting my site!*

Brussel Sprouts with Bacon, Pine Nuts & Parmesan Cheese

If you’ve never seen brussel sprouts growing, this is what they look like. They’re basically little cabbages growing up a stalk. The picture above shows very small sprouts, and they normally grow a bit bigger.

In addition to tasting great, brussel sprouts are incredibly nutritious. They look a little like a cabbage, but taste much better in my opinion. According to Nutrition and You, they are a great source of Vitamins A, K, and C, are rich in B Complex vitamins, full of anti-oxidants, and are also a rich source of minerals like copper, calcium, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus. Nutrition and You mentions all kinds of  cancer fighting properties that brussel sprouts have and claim that these vegetables should be eaten on weight loss programs because they have a low glycemic value and are low in calories.

If you’d like to try brussel sprouts, I highly recommend cooking them in the following manner. NOTE – this recipe is likely NOT low in calories…because of the BACON. But truly, bacon is the key to many a person’s heart. Don’t leave it out! {But do source a high quality bacon.}

Let’s make this delicious brussel sprout side dish recipe!

First, fry up some bacon – 3-4 pieces is plenty. I use nitrate free bacon I buy at Costco. It’s YUMMY! I just use my kitchen scissors to cut up a few pieces and then cook them over medium high heat in a nice cast iron skillet.

Then, clean the brussel sprouts. Make sure you check your bacon! Don’t want to burn it…

Cut the sprouts in half and remove any outer leaves that look bad. Your bacon should be done by now. Remove it from the pan so it doesn’t burn. Reserve half the bacon grease and leave the rest in the pan.

Now, take those little brussel sprouts and put them cut side down right in all of that delicious bacon grease. And leave them alone. Let them cook like this {medium heat} for about 5 minutes.

After 5 minutes, stir up the sprouts and add a handful of pine nuts. If the pan looks a little dry, add a bit of the reserved bacon grease. After the pine nuts look nice and toasty, add the bacon bits back in and top everything off with freshly grated parmesan cheese.

 

ESHA Logo
Calories
744 cal
Fat
63 g
Carbs
19 g
Protein
39 g


Click Here For Full Nutrition, Exchanges, and My Plate Info

Yields 4-6 side dish servings

Brussel Sprouts with Bacon, Pine Nuts & Parmesan Cheese

5 minPrep Time

15 minCook Time

20 minTotal Time

Save RecipeSave Recipe
Recipe Image

Ingredients

  • 3-4 pieces nitrate free bacon, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 lb brussel sprouts, washed and halved
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • salt & pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Cut bacon and fry until crispy in a cast iron skillet. Drain half the bacon grease and reserve.
  2. Place halved brussel sprouts cut side down and fry in the bacon grease for about 5 minutes. Do not stir the sprouts during these first 5 minutes.
  3. Then, stir sprouts and add pine nuts. Cook 5-7 more minutes.
  4. Garnish with shredded Parmesan cheese, salt & freshly ground pepper, and enjoy!
7.8.1.2
301
https://simplifylivelove.com/brussel-sprouts-with-bacon-pine-nuts-parmesan-cheese/

Would you eat these Brussel Sprouts with Bacon, Pine Nuts & Parmesan Cheese? Share another favorite way to eat brussel sprouts, if you have one!

For more delicious side dish recipes, check out these posts:

Baked Camembert with Pomegranate & Hazelnuts

Easy Buttery Carrots

Green Beans w/ Garlic & Toasted Almonds

Cream Cheese & Parmesan Asparagus Spears

Pepper Jack Mashed Potatoes

 

This recipe for brussel sprouts with bacon, pine nuts & parmesan cheese is a delicious side dish - perfect for holiday meals or serving on a busy weeknight!

Busy Week Night Greek Salmon Sheet Pan Dinner

This delicious Greek Salmon Sheet Pan Dinner combines all of my favorite flavors and makes a delicious meal. With a quick prep, it’s great for busy week nights too! And best of all, it’s kid approved at my house, even with the kids who don’t care all that much for salmon.Farm-to-Table Greek Salmon Sheet Pan Dinner

*This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting my site!* 🙂

Welcome back to the next to last Tuesdays in the Garden for the year! It’s hard to believe we’re almost finished with another gardening season. Especially since I have YET to harvest a single ripe tomato. It’s true! 🙁 But I have harvested a nice crop of garlic, potatoes, peppers, and herbs, so from that harvest, this dish was created – and it is DELISH! Check at the end of the post for more farm-to-table recipes form the Tuesday gang. They all look fabulous.

Busy Week Night Greek Salmon Sheet Pan Dinner

I’ve been incorporating a lot more salmon recipes into our diet because of all the health benefits! The other day after staring at all of the potatoes in my kitchen (I grow a lot of potatoes!) and wondered what to do with them. I thought about the Greek Chicken Sheet Pan Meal recipe I shared a while back and decided to try one with salmon. Hence, busy week night Greek Salmon Sheet Pan Dinner was born. And it is a keeper!  🙂salmon sheet pan dinnerI love sheet pan meals because they come together pretty quickly and my family seems to enjoy them. After one small prep I can have an all inclusive meal on the table with little effort. The cooking time on this sheet pan meal is a little longer because the potatoes take longer to cook than the salmon. Even so, it’s still pretty easy to put this sheet pan meal on your table.

Here’s how to make this delicious Greek Salmon Sheet Pan Dinner!

prep potatoes for Greek Salmon Sheet Pan Dinner
Pre-heat oven to 425 and prep potatoes and onions by slicing. Combine them in a bowl with 1/4 cup olive oil, salt and pepper, and then spread them on a sheet pan. Bake for 25 minutes.

Add salmon and other veggies to sheet panAdd the salmon and other veggies, top with crushing garlic and remaining olive oil from potatoes. Bake for 8 more minutes. By the way, not all salmon is created equally. If possible, buy wild caught salmon (preferably Alaska sock-eye) over farm raised salmon. Wild caught salmon has a better fat ratio, fewer contaminants, and more nutrients.

add tomatoes and feta cheese. Bake for 5 more minutesFinally, add tomatoes and feta cheese. Top with juice of one lemon and bake for 5 minutes more. That’s it! Enjoy!!

Busy Week Night Greek Salmon Sheet Pan Dinner finished

Yields 4-6 servings

Busy Week Night Greek Salmon Sheet Pan Dinner

10 minPrep Time

35 minCook Time

45 minTotal Time

Save RecipeSave Recipe
Recipe Image

Ingredients

  • 1 lb wild caught Salmon
  • 2 lb baby potatoes, halved or quarterd
  • 1 onion, sliced into wedges
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 4 small peppers
  • 2 TBS fresh oregano, sliced
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup feta cheese
  • juice of 1 lemon

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425. Combine potatoes, sliced garlic, onions, olive oil, salt and pepper until the veggies are coated.
  2. Put the veggies on a sheet pan and bake for 20-25 minutes.
  3. Move the veggies to the side and add the salmon, peppers, sliced lemon, and oregano. Pour any remaining olive oil from the potatoes on the salmon and top with crushed garlic. Bake 8 minutes.
  4. Add tomatoes, feta cheese, and top everything with the juice of one lemon. Bake 5 more minutes.
  5. Enjoy!
7.8.1.2
294
https://simplifylivelove.com/greek-salmon-sheet-pan-dinner/

Updated-Tuesdays-in-the-Garden

Tuesdays in the Garden

Be sure to check out the other fall inspired Farm-To-Table Recipes! Just click the link or photo to take you to each blog post.

hearth and vine

Patti at Hearth & Vine – Cooking Collard Greens!

homemade food junkie

Diane at Homemade Food Junkie – Stuffed Squash Blossom Stir Fry

frugal family home

Shelly at Frugal Family Home – Ginger Garlic Green Beans

angie freckled rose

From Angie at The Freckled Rose – 15 Fall Inspired Garden-to-Table Recipes

an oregon cottage

Jami at An Oregon Cottage – Harvest Vegetable Ham Bone Soup

What’s your favorite recipe with salmon? Have you tried a sheet pan meal yet? Let me know what you think!

This Greek salmon sheet pan dinner recipe cooks on only one pan for quick clean up! Prep is pretty easy and the dish is so delicious! Try it tonight!