From our Homestead – All About Tomatoes

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Late spring in Northern Arizona is one of my favorite times of the year. It means that I can plant tomatoes. And I LOVE tomatoes! Besides garden peas, tomatoes are one of my favorite summer garden veggie. I love to go out and pick and eat them right off of the vine.

Heirloom tomato plants are varieties that are open-pollinated (meaning they rely on insect pollination) and at least 50 years old. Many, like Cherokee Purple, Arkansas Traveler, and Pink Brandywine, offer a rich history passed down through cultures or families. (from Bonnie Plants)

Hybrid tomato plants are, simply, plants that have been crossbred to take advantage of the best traits of each parent plant. These traits might include greater disease resistance, shorter growth habit, or higher yield. Plant breeders may do the cross-pollination to create a certain kind of hybrid, or a hybrid can occur naturally, thanks to bees and other pollinators. It’s important to note that hybrid is NOT the same as GMO. Some of Bonnie’s most popular hybrids include Sun Gold, Better Boy, and Juliet. (from Bonnie Plants)

Our family’s go-to variety is the Roma tomato. It is perfect for sauces and canning. I love to slice and put on my sandwiches as well as freeze-dry and dehydrate this variety.

A Roma tomato is a paste tomato. Paste tomatoes generally have a thicker fruit wall, fewer seeds, and a denser flesh.

This week, we are getting our tomatoes and watermelon in the ground! YEAH!

To prepare your garden for tomatoes, dig compost or manure deeply into your beds. Use aged or composted manure when amending the soil in the springtime. Do this in an area about three feet in diameter and two feet deep, remembering that roots will grow out and down.

Check out the baby roma tomato on the clipping that I grew root on!

Our favorite go-to site for canning and preserving is

– Here is a download to make your own Tomato Sauce from them!!

Fresh Tomato Salsa (Pico de Gallo) Recipe

Nothing is better than a fresh Pico De Gallo!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time0 mins
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: pico de Gallo, salsa
Servings: 4
Calories: 79kcal
Author: Kris Mazy


  • 2 to 3 medium sized fresh tomatoes 1 to 1 1/2 pounds, stems removed
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 2 serrano chiles or 1 jalapeño chile stems, ribs, seeds removed, less or more to taste
  • Juice of one lime
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Pinch dried oregano crumble in your fingers before adding, more to taste
  • Pinch ground cumin more to taste


  • Prep the ingredients: Roughly chop the tomatoes, chiles, and onions. Be careful while handling the chile peppers. Use a plastic baggie or disposable gloves to handle them, or wash your hands thoroughly with soap and hot water after handling and avoid touching your eyes for several hours.
  • Set aside some of the seeds from the peppers. If the salsa isn’t hot enough, you can add a few for more heat.
  • Make the salsa: Place all of the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade. Pulse only a few times, just enough to finely dice the ingredients and not enough to purée. If you don't have a food processor, you can finely dice by hand.
  • Adjust seasonings: Place in a serving bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. If the chilies make the salsa too hot, add some more chopped tomato. If it's not hot enough, carefully add a few of the seeds from the chilies, or add a little more ground cumin.
  • Let the salsa sit for an hour (room temperature or chilled) for the flavors to combine.
  • Serve: Serve with chips, tortillas, tacos, burritos, tostadas, quesadillas, pinto or black beans. The salsa will keep refrigerated for up to 5 days.


Calories: 79kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 21mg | Potassium: 795mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 2856IU | Vitamin C: 80mg | Calcium: 37mg | Iron: 1mg
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