Discover Container Gardening with Tomatoes by Cyndi Roberts An easy, proven way to save you money while providing good nutrition for your family! You don't think you have a green thumb? That's OK--you don't really need one! Just a little knowledge and info to get you started!! Those of us who live in rural areas have a decided advantage over city and apartment dwellers. We can nearly always find room for a vegetable garden even if it's a small one! But even if you don't have an acre or two of land to play with, don't despair! You can still supplement your grocery budget with fresh veggies grown in a container garden--even if the only space you have is on your patio! Tomatoes are about the easiest vegetables to grow. They come in all sizes: from bite-size cherry tomatoes to great big beefsteak tomatoes. And tastewise, store-bought tomatoes just can't compare to vine-ripened! The first step to starting a container garden is to locate your container. You can use almost anything. A half-barrel, the kind you see for sale at garden centers, works great. You may have plastic buckets already on hand and these can work, too. If you use buckets, usually one plant to each bucket is enough. And keep in mind, one plant can produce a lot of tomatoes! Just put a layer of rocks in the bottom of your chosen container for drainage. Then fill with quality potting soil about 2/3 thirds of the way full. Tomatoes are best grown from seedlings. Most garden centers, discount stores, and even some grocery stores have these in stock in the spring. Remove the plant from the plastic pot it comes in by squeezing the bottom of the pot to loosen the soil and gently lift it from the pot. Carefully loosen the roots a little as sometimes they tend to be a little root-bound in the small pots. Dig a hole a little bigger than your plant ball and just set your tomato into the hole right up to the leaves and fill all around with more potting soil. Of course, you must water the plants to make them grow! Your tomato plants will respond well to regular feeding. Apply a liquid fertilizer once a week. Once your plants are larger, you may need to stake them; however, if you are growing the "bush" variety, they won't need to be staked. Once your plants are bearing, you may find yourself with a surplus. Whole tomatoes can be frozen for use later on in soups and casseroles. Just wash and put in sealed plastic bags and place in freezer. When you're ready to use them, let them thaw partway so the skin can come off and they're ready to go in the soup pot! If you prefer to freeze your tomatoes already chopped, just dip each tomato in boiling water for about 10 seconds. Then the peel will pull right off. Chop the tomato, put in bags and freeze. Here's a good vegetable soup recipe for using frozen tomatoes. Combine 1 1/2 cups frozen chopped tomatoes 1 can new potatoes, drained and chopped 1 can sliced carrots, drained 1 large can tomato sauce 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning 1 3/4 cups beef broth Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes, to let flavors mingle. Add salt and pepper to taste. About the Author Cyndi Roberts is the editor of the bi-weekly newsletter "1 Frugal Friend 2 Another", bringing you practical, money-saving tips, recipes and ideas. Visit her online at http://www.cynroberts.com to subscribe and receive the Free e-course, "Taming the Monster Grocery Bill". Comment on this article >> .