Monday, October 25, 2010

Harvest Monday and Cleaning Out

I finally did it. I cleaned out all of my tomato plants.



I still have a lot of work to do, but at least all of my green tomatoes are wrapped and waiting to ripen inside, without fear of frost. There still isn't any in the forecast, but I didn't want to risk it, and have to do it based on the weather's schedule. I did leave the cherry tomatoes, because they are ripening just fine, and my husband really likes them (so does Heidi!)

I am now LOADED with green tomatoes, and I really hope that they do well inside!

While pulling all of the tomatoes I found several that had just fallen all over each other. This one would have need three of my 4.5-5 ft tall stakes to keep it upright!

Here is one of my amazing pineapple tomatoes, ready and waiting to be saved for seeds for EG once it ripens. These were all incredibly huge, and I got another six or so off of these plants.

I'm not sure you can really call this a HARVEST since I can't really eat any of this right now, but if you want to see what other people are getting from their gardens, head over to Daphne's Dandelions!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Green Tomato Salsa

Today I turned this

Into this.

Plus a few ingredients like onions, garlic, salt, and honey.

I wanted to do something with some of the green tomatoes I've got still out there. I know there are going to be TONS of tomatoes for me to bring in and ripen inside, so I figured I ought to try to do something with some now. I did one batch of a green tomato salsa recipe as a trial, to see if I want to use a bunch of them like this anyway.

The verdict isn't out yet, there was a nice flavor, but it was still hot, and I prefer my salsa cold. So we'll see. My neighbor is trying to convince me to give my tomatoes some more time outside before I pull them. The weather here in St. Louis can be pretty whacky and we can end up with temps near 80s sporadically into November, but we can also have days where the high is 40. So the tomatoes remain outside for now.
VERDICT- The husband loves it! Me... eh... I should have made it hotter, and I overcooked the garlic which I think affected the flavor. It was pretty sweet, and tangy. I think I'll try a different recipe next time around.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Cleaning UP

Okay, so I'm trying to clean up the garden. My husband has the camera with him in PA for a wedding he is attending, so the best I could do was with my iSight. The only picture I took was of some of the jalapenos that I'm still getting from the garden. We've got plenty out there still.

I made an attempt at cleaning up some of the garden today. Mostly I just moved around some of the vines that my center INSANE plants have been throwing all over the place. We've got more green tomatoes on my plants now, than I think we got ALL summer on some of those plants. My Big Boys are loaded, my Pineapple tomatoes are also loaded. Those are the main ones right now.

My Cherry tomatoes keep on trucking with a handful of tomatoes at least every other day. I really like the amount of Cherry tomatoes we had this year. We had four plants, and I think we'll stick to that.

Some of the tomatoes I was disappointed with (and it could be the heat we had this year, so some may get a mercy do over):

  • Brandywine- we only got a few, and I was expecting "knock my socks off" flavor, they were mostly cracked, and I just didn't think they were outstanding enough for the space that they took. (If there is one that I may give another try to next year, it'd be this one)
  • San Marzano- a paste tomato that I was expecting great flavor from, gave me only a few tomatoes that did not have blossom end rot. These plants were FILLED with tomatoes, but most had BER, even though none of the other tomatoes in the area did. They weren't worth the space
  • Caspian Pink- it was fun to see pink tomatoes, but again the flavor I'd hoped for just wasn't there, and they were another to crack a lot and only produce a few.
  • Striped Paste- May be a user's error on my part, because they were hidden under the snap pea vines for so long, and had to STRETCH to the sky, but they never really recovered, and even though they were pretty when they ripened, I didn't feel like they were anything where flavor was concerned.
  • Super Beefsteak- nothing super about them. They didn't get as big as the Big Boys, which they were supposed to, won't waste my time on these next year.
  • Delicious- I think from what I remember, it tasted okay, but the production doesn't come close to that of my Big Boys, and even though this is the plant that produced the world record tomato, I'm not sure my garden had the nutrients to make this plant do much of anything.
Some tomatoes that I will DEFINITELY be planting next year will include:
  • Big Boy- I'm pretty much sold on this tomato, even with the cracking, they felt like the most reliable of our slicing type of tomatoes, and though I'd rather move onto heirlooms, they just can't compete with the amount of tomatoes these produce. They give that home grown tomato I love, and I think we'll be sticking with this one.
  • Pineapple- these were HUGE tomatoes! I'm not sure if I ever uploaded any pictures of these, but they were BEAUTIFUL. I've got several out there still, so as they start to ripen, I'll take more pictures. These were one slice per sandwich, and I enjoyed breaking up colors when we had barbeques this summer.
  • Green Zebra- I was super pleasantly surprised by this one. I only planted one of these, and I'll probably go with two or three next year. They were a great salad tomato, had a really different zingy taste, and
  • Margherita Hybrid- this one put out LOADS of paste tomatoes, and they ripened in bunches, which was great for making batches of sauce and salsa. Another situation where it was a hybrid, and so I got great production, but with such a small garden area to work with, I need more tomatoes for the space.
  • Jubilee Yellow- still my favorite for an open faced tomato sandwhich, flavor is great, and they had a decent production this year, a lot better than last year, though they cracked a lot too with the heat/water fluctuations.
I also will be trying Cherokee Purple, and I'm sure there'll be something I'll want to try once garden catalogs start showing up in my mailbox.

I pulled out my broccoli plants that were hiding under my tomatoes. They never gave me any broccoli, unfortunately. I won't give up on that one just yet. I also pulled a bunch of marigolds out. I was sick of seeing the tall ones, because they had fallen all over the place, and the small ones (even though I think they're pretty) had to go because I was having a hard time getting to all of the tomato vines that were all over the place. I picked the jalapenos and pulled a bunch of dead leaves out of the strawberry bed, and that's about all I had in me. I'm covered in that tomato smell, so I think it's time for a shower!