Guest Post

A Home Gardening Experiment: Moving Day!

By Chrisanne Sikora
Social Media Coordinator

Tomato seedlings

It’s been several weeks since I planted my tomato seeds and they’re now ready to be moved out into the back yard (probably a bit overdue as they’re overgrowing their greenhouse).  Actually, I’m happy with how many seedlings I have.  For a while it was looking like one of the trays wasn’t going to make it at all; there were a couple of sprouts soon after planting, but they died quickly from not getting enough water (oops).  A more concentrated effort at regular watering (and maybe a little help from Miracle-Gro®) and both trays were flourishing. 

Prepping the garden

The spot chosen for my vegetable garden is just underneath the back deck, next to a feisty old rose bush.  I prepped the area for planting the weekend before:  defining where the lawn ends and the garden begins, ripping out as much of the grass and weeds as possible, and turning over the top layer of soil with a pitchfork.  From there, it was just a matter of gently removing the seedlings from the greenhouse trays, separating them out (they were getting all tangled up) and planting them in the ground. 

Planting a tomato seedling

Once all the seedlings had been transplanted, I set up tomato cages over them so they’ll have something to support them as they get bigger.  Since they’re so small right now, I secured them to the cages with twist ties to keep them stable—just until they can “stand up” on their own.  I’ll probably spread some mulch in the garden to help protect the roots and prevent some of those weeds from coming back (and so it’ll look nicer, too). Setting up the tomato cages

So my home gardening experiment is in full swing.  Can’t wait to start seeing some tomatoes!  If you have any great gardening tips, leave me a comment below.

Nutrition, recipes, Secret Ingredient

The Secret Ingredient Is…The Tomato

Three Tomatoes on a vine

Since last month we profiled an exotic whole grain, this month we decided to focus on something a bit more well known. This time around we’re profiling what is possibly the most popular and versatile vegetables…or is it a fruit?  Actually, it’s a little bit of both. 

Scientifically, the tomato is considered a fruit because the seeds are held inside edible flesh.  Think of it as the “fruit” of the tomato plant, the same way an apple is the fruit of the apple tree.   But when it comes to cooking, tomatoes are considered vegetables since their flavor is better suited to savory dishes rather than dessert (eggplant and squash are other examples of fruits usually thought of as vegetables).

Regardless of whether you consider it a vegetable or fruit, fresh tomatoes are low in sodium and good sources of vitamins C, A and K as well as potassium, a crucial nutrient for balancing the body’s fluids and maintaining a regular heart beat.  Tomatoes are also excellent sources lycopene—an antioxidant that may help protect against some types of cancer (it’s also what gives tomatoes their bright red color).

Tomatoes vary in size and shape from small round cherry tomatoes, to oval shaped plum tomatoes, to large globe tomatoes most often sliced for use in sandwiches and burgers.  You can find fresh tomatoes at the grocery store (along with many tomato products like pasta sauce, tomato puree, salsa and ketchup) and your local farmers market.  Or, you can grow your own—tomatoes are one of the most popular vegetables to grow at home, and since they don’t require much space (just water and plenty of sun) they can be grown almost anywhere.  

Whether you grow your own or buy them from the market, your tomatoes will taste great in this recipe.  Use it as a side dish or as a topping for fish or poultry:

 Sweet Balsamic Tomatoes


2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp honey
2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes cut in half 

Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix oil, vinegar and honey and pour over tomatoes. Roast tomato mixture for 8-10 minutes. 

Yield: About 4 servings


SODIUM: 8 mg
FIBER: 1 g
FAT: 7 g Sat Fat: 1 g

(Post content reviewed by MGH Nutrition Department. Photo Credit: Zsuzsanna Kilian )