Friday, June 12, 2009

Taming of the Tomatoes

With all of the great rain we have gotten this spring, my tomato patch had grown into a jungle.

It was impossible to walk between the plants and I also found that many of them had branched out several feet and were taking over the other plants. Many of the large tomato cages had already tipped over, soI drove t-posts into the middle of the cages to support the plants.

Since I was not so diligent in keeping the tomato branches inside the cages, I had to untangle many of the plants and secure them back to the proper area. For this, I have found old nylons to be the best.

I like to use loops of nylons for this. I first cut 1 inch strips from the legs of the nylons.

I can wear these loops like bracelets as I am taming the garden. It is much easier to have them so accessible rather than across the garden when I am in a tight spot.

Here is the SuperSweet 100 cherry tomato plant, before my efforts today. This is the plant that tipped me off that odd things were happening in the garden. This guy grew a branch along the ground and then up into the Beefsteak plant. After I had untangled the branch, I saw it was over 6 feet long! It took me the longest time to get it carefully sorted out, but this guy had about 5 branches that long. I carefully trained them up the fence. I hope this gives the plant a little more light and air, as well as making it much easier to harvest.

Here it is after it had been beaten back into submission--and trellised to our 6 foot high privacy fence.

On June 9th, we picked our first ripe tomatoes from the SuperSweet 100 and one from the Little Porter plant. I'm not a huge fan of cherry tomatoes, but I always end up planting at least one. They are by far the best producer, but the skins always seem too thick for my taste and they are more acidic than I like. The Little Porter was yummy, it was fleshy with thin skin, but only about the size of a golf ball, or a Little smaller.

On June 12, I picked two Heirloom Beefsteak tomatoes that were ripe. The fruit themselves was not huge, about racquetball sized, but it was delicious. The shape of these guys is not pretty, very wrinkly and folded at the top, not the tidy neat tomato that is sold at the store. The seed pockets in the Beefsteak were very small and the slice held together very well, even when sliced thin. The flavor was amazing, I can imagine how great these will be on a BLT as the larger fruit start to ripen.

Our version of the BLT is actually a BSAT: Bacon, Spinach, Avocado, and Tomato with a slathering of mayo on lightly toasted bread... mmmm.

Soon it will be time to start cooking or sharing tomatoes. I can see they will all start to ripen at once. Here is my Roma tomato plant, the fruit is a little smaller than store bought, but look at how much there is.

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