Tomatoes 101

the Place to find; Planting, Harvesting and Cooking Tips.

   Sep 27

Learn How To Water Tomato Plants Correctly

Watering tomato plants is as crucial as pruning, preparing soil and fertilizers etc. If neglected it can lead to funguses and be the reason for which entire plantation can die. It is easy to make mistakes in this field because the methods we use vary with weather conditions and whether we grow tomatoes indoors or outdoors.

Tomatoes love the moisture, but at the same time, they can’t stand being drenched. Avoid pouring too much water as it makes air exchange in the roots and soil harder. So, how much water is too much? If you grow tomatoes outdoors run the garden hose on them for up to 2 minutes. Adjust the length of time to your local weather conditions. You will want to water more if you live in an exceptionally dry climate. However, if you live in a rainy climate you shouldn’t water your plants for more than 30 seconds.

If you grow tomatoes indoors you need to consider different rules. Don’t stop running water on them until you see that it comes out of the bottom of the pot or container. This is of course, assuming that proper drainage has been allowed for in the bottom of the container in which you are growing the plants.

Personally watering your tomatoes, rather than using an automatic system helps to improve plant production. The reason being is that if you are watering them personally, then you will be seeing them every day and you will notice if there are any problems such as pest infestation, or if a plant is diseased. Noticing these things early can not only save the plant, but the rest of your tomato harvest as well.

Taking good care and watering your tomatoes on a regular basis will not only keep your plants happy and healthy, but they’ll keep you happy as well with all the tasty fruit the plant will serve you! It’s no wonder that the tomato is the most popular item grown in a vegetable garden. Tomato plants do not require a lot of work and the reward is absolutely worth it – sweet and juicy fruits that taste like no other before!

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Pawel Kalkus is a hobbyist gardener with 15 years experience in organic vegetable garden cultivation. If you enjoyed this article on watering tomato plants go get your free copy of the “7 Best Tomato Growing Tips” ebook.

Article Source: http://www.articlealley.com/article_849560_27.html


   Sep 27

Tianshi Lycopene

Lycopene a bright red natural pigment found in tomato. This family of anti-oxidants are known as Carotenoids. The chemical Lycopene found in tomatoes is converted by the manufacturing process used, to make it more easily absorbed. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables is known to be beneficial to health.

Lycopene is a bright red carotene and carotenoid pigment and phytochemical found in tomatoes and other red fruits & vegetables, such as red carrots, watermelons and papayas (but not strawberries or cherries). Although lycopene is chemically a carotene, it has no vitamin A activity.

In plants, algae, and other photosynthetic organisms, lycopene is an important intermediate in the biosynthesis of many carotenoids, including beta carotene, responsible for yellow, orange or red pigmentation, photosynthesis, and photo-protection. Structurally, it is a tetraterpene assembled from eight isoprene units, composed entirely of carbon and hydrogen, and is insoluble in water. Lycopene’s eleven conjugated double bonds give it its deep red color and are responsible for its antioxidant activity. Due to its strong color and non-toxicity, lycopene is a useful food coloring.

Lycopene is not an essential nutrient for humans, but is commonly found in the diet, mainly from dishes prepared with tomato sauce. When absorbed from the stomach, lycopene is transported in the blood by various lipoproteins and accumulates in the liver, adrenal glands, and testes.

Because preliminary research has shown an inverse correlation between consumption of tomatoes and cancer risk, lycopene has been considered a potential agent for prevention of some types of cancers, particularly prostate cancer. However, this area of research and the relationship with prostate cancer have been deemed insufficient of evidence for health claim approval by the US Food and Drug Administration (see below under Antioxidant properties and potential health benefits).

Unlike other fruits and vegetables, where nutritional content such as vitamin C is diminished upon cooking, processing of tomatoes increases the concentration of bioavailable lycopene. Lycopene in tomato paste is four times more bioavailable than in fresh tomatoes. For this reason, tomato sauce is a preferable source as opposed to raw tomatoes.

While most green leafy vegetables and other sources of lycopene are low in fats and oils, lycopene is insoluble in water and is tightly bound to vegetable fiber. Processed tomato products such as pasteurized tomato juice, soup, sauce, and ketchup contain the highest concentrations of bioavailable lycopene from tomato based sources.

Studies have shown that a diet rich in lycopene containing vegetables has the potential to protect against some types of cancer
Lycopene is not produced by the body .A powerful antioxidant which can help to protect against free radicals – harmful elements resulting from poor diet, pollution, stress, smoking , pesticides, radiation and even alcohol.

Prostate cancer ¨C the Facts .The most common cancer in men. In North America: 1 in every 6 men will develop prostate cancer.
1 in every 28 men will die from prostate cancer.The number of cases of men in their 40s and 50s has risen dramatically.

Emma Guns, Ph.D.Assistant Professor, UBC Head, NHP Research Program Head, Analytical Pharmacology 34 % reduced risk of prostate cancer

A six year study of 47,000 men conducted by Harvard Medical School found that consuming tomato products more than twice a week, as opposed to never, was associated with a reduced risk of prostate cancer or up to 34 percent.

FDA approval to use qualified health claim for using tomato.Based on health claim guidance provided by the FDA, the risk of prostate cancer may be reduced by eating half to one cup of tomatoes per week.

High level of lycopene in body helps to protect from heart attack. University of North Carolina compared 1,379 American and European men who had suffered a heart attack with the same number of healthy men found that those with high levels of lycopene appeared to be protected against the disease with about half the risk.

Reduced risk of stroke & acute coronary events A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition reveals evidence that increasing your intake of lycopene may help reduce your risk of stroke and acute coronary events

Male infertility: 15% of couples suffer from infertility A male factor is responsible for the couple infertility in 30% to 50% of the cases 5% to 10% of males are infertile or sub-fertile Recent studies show that lycopene supplementation improves the quality of sperm in infertile men

Tianshi Lycopene We recommend 4 tablets a day to supplement your food In cases of severe deficiency use 8 tablets a day.

This article has been made accessible by the author, Bank Koapit. .Should you require any further information regarding immune booster and slimming belt please visit his lycopene resources

Article Source: http://www.articlealley.com/article_1321766_28.html


   Sep 27

The Health Benefits of Tomatoes

The benefits of tomatoes are well known. Tomatoes contain many important compounds that play an important role in preventing cancer, heart disease, cataracts and many other common health problems. Tomatoes are rich sources of many nutrients. More and more people come to realize how important tomatoes in a healthy diet.

Why Tomatoes Are Very Healthy
Besides containing lots of vitamin C tomatoes contain lots of vitamin A, iron, and potassium. Vitamin A is contained in tomatoes is very good for eye health. Tomatoes are also widely used in the beauty industry, usually for masks and anti-aging pill. Processing tomatoes was not too difficult. Many processed foods that can be combined with tomatoes, one of the most popular is the fresh tomatoes in the salad dressing on the burger. Previous studies have found that tomatoes help maintain heart health by lowering cholesterol levels. In addition, food from tomato is also expressed to protect the skin from the sun and keep the skin looking healthy in old age.

In addition, tomatoes are also nutritious eliminate thirst, intestinal antiseptic, mild laxative (laxative), increase appetite in a way to multiply out of saliva, stimulates gastric enzyme solution, and the flow of bile into the intestine.

The important substance of the red color of tomatoes is known scientifically as lycopene. Lycopene is a natural substance found in large numbers in the tomato and other red-colored fruit like a watermelon, papaya and guava. These important compounds are powerful antioxidants, with the ability to neutralize free radicals that can cause damage to cells. These free radicals are expected to play a role in cancer, and therefore the tomato is considered important in the prevention of various types of cancer such as prostate cancer, breast cancer and lung cancer. Lycopene is also thought to help prevent the aging process, so that eaters tomato to stay active longer. As an antioxidant, lycopene two times more effective than beta-carotene in protecting white blood cells from membrane damage by free radicals. Once absorbed by the body, lycopene is stored in the liver, lung, prostate, colon and skin. Concentration in the tissue in the body tends to be higher than other carotenoids.

Choosing Tomatoes

Choosing a good tomato is not too difficult. Choose fresh skinned tomatoes and red. Organic tomatoes are better because more natural and do not contain pesticides. Organic tomatoes also higher content of calcium, about 23 mg compared to non-organic tomatoes contain only 5 mg of calcium.

Although tomatoes can be eaten raw but should be cooked first. Boiled or steamed is the best way. Tomatoes are also one of the rare foods that actual nutritional value enhanced by the cooking process. Valuable lycopene found in tomato cell walls, and because it cooks in a little healthy oil will help to more fully release of this important nutrient.

If you want to look more fresh and have a healthy body, you can eat the tomatoes. In addition to diet and exercise, tomatoes also were able to make you slim down.

Article Source: http://www.articlealley.com/article_1341367_26.html
http://healthyfoods-first.com


   Sep 27

Vegetarian Moussaka – a delectable way to use Butternut Squash

The inspiration for this Vegetarian Moussaka came after I had drawn a blank with many other vegetarian moussaka recipes. I love using butternut squash – it is both filling and nutritious. Therefore, using butternut as a base in this dish meant that there didn’t have to be as much bulky pulse added. The result is a very satisfying dish, rich in flavor and packed with nutrients.

With regards to roasting the butternut squash: peel the butternut. Next, chop the butternut into inch (2½ cm) cubes, discarding the seeds. Place the cubes on an oiled baking tray. Massage a little oil over the butternut cubes and roast them in a moderate oven for about 30 – 40 mins, until they are cooked. Simple!

The greatest improvement in this Vegetarian Moussaka recipe is that the aubergines are not fried. I hate greasy food – but I love the taste of it! Baking the aubergines gives you the taste with minimal fat. In order to do this, grease a couple of large baking sheets. Slice 2 large aubergines into ¼ inch / 5 mm slices. Place the slices on the baking sheets in a single layer. Brush the slices with oil. Bake at 350° F / 180° C for about 20 minutes. Turn the slices over and cook for another 20 minutes. I usually prepare 4 aubergines like this and freeze the slices in between sheets of freezer paper. I haul them out to put on top of salads or into pasta sauce.

The ingredients seem endless – but everything can be prepared in advance. In fact, it is wise to make the tomato sauce the day before. It can even be made well ahead and frozen.

The addition of a teaspoon of mustard to the cheese sauce adds flavor and means that you can cut down on the amount of cheese.

A little effort
Preparation time: 45 minutes, but everything can be done in advance
Cooking time: ½ hour for moussaka
Serves 6

Ingredients:

4 cups roasted butternut – approx 1lb 4oz / 550g (see above for instructions)
2 cups cooked brown lentils
3 cups tomato sauce (see below)
1 quantity white sauce (see below)
2 large aubergines, cut into ¼ inch thick slices and baked (see above for instructions)

Tomato Sauce Ingredients:

2 large onions, diced
about 3 tablespoons oil
2lbs / 900g tomatoes, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
4 tablespoons tomato paste
½ cup (loosely packed) parsley
½ cup (loosely packed) coriander
1 cup water
½ teaspoon salt
freshly ground pepper

Cheese Sauce Ingredients:

2oz / 60 g butter
2oz / 60 g flour
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon wholegrain mustard
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup strong cheese, grated – cheddar is a good choice

Use a large frying pan to make the tomato sauce. You will need a small pot for the white sauce and an oven proof dish for the Moussaka.

When you are ready to assemble, heat the oven to 350° F / 180° C.

Method:

To make the tomato sauce: fry the onions in the oil until they soften and begin to brown.

Add the garlic, tomatoes, tomato paste. Allow to simmer for about 5 minutes. Add the parsley, coriander, salt and pepper and slowly add the water. Allow to simmer for about 10 minutes until the sauce thickens. You may either blend the sauce or leave it so that it is chunky. This quantity yields about 5 cups.

To make the cheese sauce: melt the butter in the pot. Add the flour and cook for a minute. Slowly add the milk, stirring constantly. Allow to come to the boil and thicken. Add the mustard, cheese and salt and cook for another minute. Keep aside.

To assemble Vegetarian Moussaka: place the cooked diced butternut in the oven-proof dish. Sprinkle over the lentils. Spoon over 3 cups of tomato sauce. Arrange the aubergine slices on top. Spoon the cheese sauce over.
Bake at 350° F / 180° C for ½ hour. Serve with a big salad.

Fiona Lesley has had over 20 years of experience cooking delicious meals for family and friends alike. A teacher by profession, she brings together her years of time and money-saving tips at Monthly Meal Planning

Article Source: http://www.articlealley.com/article_1202960_26.html


   Sep 27

Hanging Tomato Plants – An Option For Small Gardens

Tomato plants are one of the easiest and most popular vine plants to grow but, as with all homegrown vegetables and fruits, it pays to do your homework up front to make sure you can successfully grow your own tomatoes or any other vegetables. Selecting the right location and using the right soil or compost mix will set you on your way to successful tomato crops.

One of the best options available to people with small gardens that will still allow them to grow a few tomato plants and enjoy the satisfaction of eating fresh homegrown tomatoes is to use a hanging planter, the planter can be hung in any convenient location, remembering of course that tomato plants need plenty of sun and plenty of water.

The main benefit of using a hanger in a small garden is that you need very little space in which to hang it and instead of spreading out to take up a large area they tend to hang straight down and occupy vertical space rather than horizontal space. So plenty of scope for the fruit to grow but in a long vertical line.

Other benefits are that you can clip the end of the plant to make sure there is no contact with the ground and therefore less chance of disease. There will naturally be good air movement around and through the plant, again good for keeping disease at bay.

The downside is that the hanging planter will need frequent watering, the fact that the soil is suspended in the air and in sunlight for most of the day means that it is bound to dry out more quickly than some other tomato growing options.

A great way of dealing with this is to employ the use of a plant watering system, particularly useful for this method of growing tomato plants. The main benefit is that it removes the need to lift heavy watering cans up to water the planter or as some people do lowering the planter down to water, not a good idea. Too much risk of damaging your plants and you still have to lift the planter back up after watering and now its full of water so heavier as well.

There are plenty of watering systems available that you can easily purchase from gardening centers, I would suggest a micro system for this type of planting as it is lightweight and can be controlled with a built in timer.

About the Author:

Visit Grow A Tomato for more tips and advice on tomato growing and to get access to expert advice that could double or triple the size of your crop of tomatoes.

Visit Mircro Irrigation Watering System for an effective way to water your tomatoes.

Article Source: ArticlesBase.comHanging Tomato Plants – An Option For Small Gardens


   Sep 27

Raising Tomato Plants from Seed

Tomatoes, although technically short-lived perennials, are treated as annuals and raised from seed each year. They are sub-tropical plants that require a consistent temperature of at least 55ºF in order to germinate successfully, but a temperature of 70ºF will produce much quicker emergence and is generally preferred. Given warmth, good light and a damp friable growing medium tomatoes are very easy to raise from seed.

For most gardeners, even those that live in warmer districts where tomatoes are cultivated outdoors from their very early stages of growth, it is usual to start the seeds off in pans or flats of compost under controlled conditions. Tomatoes can be sown directly into the open ground, where the climate and soil conditions are suitable, but much better establishment of better quality plants always results from controlled seed raising and growing the seedlings during their initial stages of growth in independent modules or pots. Transplanting is easier and establishment is rapid.

As tomato seeds are large enough to handle individually, it is best to space them out on the surface of the prepared compost so that when they germinate they do not crowd each other. Also when they are pricked out there is no undue disturbance of the fragile root systems through them having become entangled with each other. A properly formulated seed compost is essential. A sterile medium of a texture and quality that will offer the best start for the germinating seeds.

There are a number of different composts available, but for the hobby gardener a good soil-based seed compost is to be preferred to a soil-less one. Soil-based composts, although generally slower to warm-up, and often slightly impairing the speed of seed germination, usually yield the finest and strongest plants, especially for planting directly into the garden outdoors.

Plants that have been raised in a soil-less compost, which almost always comprises a high proportion of friable peat, often take time to adapt their roots to the more hostile and less forgiving medium of natural garden soil when planted in their permanent positions. Sometimes a check in growth occurs while the roots adapt, resulting in an impairment in the plant’s development.

Soil-based composts also overcome the problem, commonly encountered with tomato seedlings raised in a soil-less medium, of the seed coat sticking the two seed leaves together, often making them inseparable without causing damage. The seed coat is generally detached by the coarser soil-based medium as the seedlings emerge.

Once the seedlings have their two seed leaves fully expanded they should be pricked out, ideally into individual modules or small pots, although they can spend two or three weeks pricked out into flats in order to save space when this is necessary. Like all seedlings, tomatoes that are raised in this manner are vulnerable to damping off disease. This causes the seedlings to rot at the base of the stem and collapse. The routine use of a fungicidal treatment is to be recommended.

About the Author:

Philip Swindells has over 40 years gardening experience. A former botanical garden curator and an international horticultural consultant, he has worked extensively in the UK, North America, the Middle East and Australia. The Author of more than 50 gardening books, he has been awarded a Quill and Trowel Award by the Garden Writers’ Association of America. He is also a former UK Garden Writer of the Year. He manages a free global seed exchange for gardeners at http://seedmessenger.com

Article Source: ArticlesBase.comRaising Tomato Plants from Seed