Best book on soil:
Great recipes and tomato gardening ideas from an expert:
Great book for gardeners who love to cook. Gorgeous photos, covers growing and cooking for all kinds of vegetables, fruit and flowers.
Excellent book on food preservation:
Seed Starting Supplies:
This seed starting kit is the best way I've found for busy people to start seeds. It takes the guesswork out of watering which is especially helpful because I'm always on the run. Available exclusively from Gardener's Supply Company. Click on photos for more information.
For the soiless medium that goes into the tray, I highly recommend Natural Beginnings Seed Starting Mix from gardens alive! Here's some info from their website: Use this outstanding soil-less growing medium for all indoor seed starting and when repotting large, fast-growing plants like tomatoes.
Our tests show that seeds started in Natural Beginnings:
--sprout much faster
--have a higher germination rate than seeds started in the leading commercial mixtures
--grow stronger and healthier.
Soil-less Natural Beginnings is based on coir, the short fiber from coconuts. Because coir is porous, it allows air to circulate, reducing the incidence of root diseases. Compared to peat moss, coir retains more moisture and nutrients and is easier to keep wet. Coir lasts up to four times as long as peat and can be reused several times for successive sowings. In addition to coir, Natural Beginnings contains worm castings and mealworm guano as natural nutrient sources; the castings also enhance aeration and water retention.
For timed lighting, I tried two other cheaper light timers that didn't work right (or maybe I just couldn't figure out how to make them work right), and so I splurged on this product from Gardener's Supply and I have been very pleased. Click on photo for more info.
A seedling Heat Mat is a must for gardener's, like me, who need instant-gratification! Makes seeds sprout in 24-48 hours!
The fertilizer that I use is called Tomatoes Alive from gardens alive! company Not only does it improve my yield but it's very uncomplicated to use. One scoop goes in the hole when I first plant my tomatoes in the garden and one scoop goes in the soil around the plant when it first sets blossoms. According to Gardens Alive, this product "produces 150% more tomatoes by weight." Although I haven't scientifically collected data to test this, I do feel that my plants have produced more tomatoes since I started using this product. That may be because it's so simple to remember to apply it just two times per season that I actually use it correctly.
Tomato Sauce Supplies:
This is the foodmill that I use. It works fantastic for both tomato puree and apple puree, and is easy to clean.
To preserve for freezing, we first freeze the puree in a large drinking cup (16 oz.) and as soon as it's firm, we transfer it to a bag and vacuum-seal and put back in the freezer.
Tomato Ladders are strong and very attractive in the garden. They also nest in each other for easy storage. You just have to check them each week to keep tomato plants inside. For extra tall-growing indeterminate tomatoes, you may need the extensions to these as well.
Currently Gardener's Supply is offering free shipping on orders over $75. Click here for more info:
Another type of tomato plant support is the Tomato Pen Support System from Gardens Alive Company This support comes with two cages and eight connectors to make a third support between the two cages. I really like the square shape of these cages in my beds, they look nice and uniform. If you can find two square cages for a lower cost than at Gardens Alive, you can always create your own connectors with craft wire to make a third support. I tried this with copper wire and it worked although it doesn't look quite as good as the real connectors. These square cages can also be stacked for taller tomato plants.