First of the Year – Tomatoes!
That’s right, I start planning my tomato garden in January by getting my tomato seed ready to grow. Using my heirloom seed I saved from the prior year I prepare the seed to sprout. There are a variety of small containers to plant them in.
This time I’m using the old tubes from paper towels or toilet paper and cutting them to be 2 inches tall, taping plastic wrap on the bottoms to keep the soil in. Afterward, they can be arranged in a waterproof container, such as a plastic food saver box for example.
Using seed starter soil, ( or soil/ dirt from what you have on hand) fill the little pots. Place 2 – 3 seeds about 1/2″ deep and apart from one another in each pot. Add a teaspoon to tablespoon of water in each pot. Set these near a window for sunlight. Sprouting begins in a week or two. Water whenever the soil feels dry.
When they sprout and grow about 2 inches tall, choose the healthiest sprouts you want to keep and pinch off the ones you don’t want. Then transfer them to bigger containers. Burying the sprout to the first set of true leaves helps promote root growth. Eventually I will put them in bigger pots/containers, or in the ground by Mother’s Day.
Tomatoes like lots of sun light and heat to grow optimally. When planting the tomato plants for the season, try to bury half of the green part of the plant (pinch off the leaves on the part going in the ground) to promote root growth for a sturdier plant. You can use tomato cages or stake them when they grow about a foot tall. Water once a week. About a month or so trim approximately 1/5 of the leaves off, to redirect their energy to the roots and bushier top growth. It is a happy day when you finally get your first tomatoes!
Tomatoes in our house are usually fated to become salsa. I will freeze ripe tomatoes during the growing season, and around Labor day make big batches of canned salsa. Freezing them not only preserves them for a big canning session, but also helps to drain some of the water content when they thaw. My freezing process is: Cleaning, cutting the tomatoes in quarters, removing the stem and blemishes then put the tomatoes in gallon size bags. Keeping the skins on when freezing helps make a quicker, thicker salsa.
Tomatoes provide: Beta-carotene, calcium, collagen, folate, lutein, lycopene, phosphorus, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C, zeaxanthin and a host of health benefits that I won’t go into here.
Reflection, Redirection and or Reaffirming
This is a great time of year for reflection, redirection and or reaffirming your goals and why. What do you think about during the day? Are the thoughts ones that help, or hold you back? Just recognizing what is going on in your own head will help you live a more deliberate life as opposed to life happening to you.
Paying attention helps you realize what kind of intentions your brain may get from the quality of your thoughts. It is vital that you master your thoughts, instead of letting your thoughts master you. Another way of looking at this is what do you want to accomplish in a year, how about 5 years? Or maybe further down the road, say 10 or 20 years? What do you want to do with your time that you have on this earth? The choice is yours.
There is value in knowing what you want to do with your seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months and years on this planet. It is okay if your priorities change, the point is you have priorities in the first place. It all starts somewhere. I hope when it is all said and done that I can honestly say I have or at least tried to do things that will help not just myself be better, but society as a whole. To live authentically, love unconditionally, to be the best me I can be and hopefully help others to do the same.
This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. – Jesus. Found in John 15:12, King James Version of the Bible.