Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Tiny Tomatoes Everywhere

I couldn't believe how many tomatoes I got this year! My girls just loved going out to the garden and grazing at snack time. They picked about a hundred of these tiny tasty tomatoes. I grew too many and that really made harvest hard. I read that they grew well with strawberries. THEY DO! I had these started from seed and actually thought I got them in late when I lost a few weeks at the start of summer with back pain. I had replanted my strawberry bed and I had a slow year with them, but we did get enough for our daily grazing trip. It's our favorite time. I actually let some of my broccoli flower because my girls will stand there and pick and eat all the pretty yellow flowers...that's our favorite color around here so eating "yellow" is really cool:) I don't mind having a few plants mature like that when I have two little ones really enjoying eating raw broccoli! (and you can juice the entire broccoli plant) It makes a Mom's heart happy to see a 2 and 4 year old really caring if something is healthy or not. My boys....not so much:( Although my younger son is a vegetarian and aside from wanting the junk does care about what's good for you. He gets expensive with all the Boca burgers I buy.

So, these tiny kind of sad looking tomato seedlings went in late and I planted them way too close I think. I put them around the border of my strawberry bed thinking I was being smart. Wow! In a hot dry summer they still grew to such an extent that I thought they would take over my yard. I had to pull some to save my strawberries. Obviously I should have put them on a trellis, but I had never grown these before. I could have covered a wall with them. I've harvested at least 8 buckets of tomatoes from maybe 20 seeds and some biodome sponges. (I love/hate my biodome...more later on that) I was pretty good at watering twice a day and they had the moisture control from the strawberry plants at their base. The strawberries kept them from ever drying out. I planted a few bean plants in some bare spots within the bed thinking they would pull in some nitrogen. I don't know if I did it right, but I did cut up the bean plant and put it back into the soil. I'm learning as I go with this.

I was lucky enough to get a bunch of wonderful heirloom seeds from my friend and I'm so bad with names that now I don't know exactly what I planted. (Help Jen) I can't tell you right now what these were. I have to tell you that I'm not the most organized person. I know the one plant she gave me was a Crimson Black...?? ok, something like that. They are pictured in the corner of the tray. These are good, but I won't grow them again. This one in the picture is pretty, but the others grew like lobes and it made a good place for bugs to get in. I lost most to bugs or some I couldn't get off the vine without breaking because they grew around it. I grow totally organic so I don't know what I could do to protect tomatoes that grow like that from bugs.

I just canned about 10 qts of salsa / sauce. I added toooooo much vinegar. I followed the directions, so I don't know if it was meant to taste like that or what I did wrong. Anyway, we aren't putting that batch on chips. I wanted to cry (maybe even did a bit) since it's the start of football season and nothing goes better with a Bronco's or Bills game then chips and salsa. To make lemonade out of lemons I used a good bit of it for some chili last night and my husband and son (the meat eating one) raved about it and told me to write down what I did. The joke around here is that they never get the same meal twice. Hey, at least I feed them:)

I need to go out and pull the rest of my tomatoes today. Something is getting them. They are getting brown spots..even the really green ones. I brought some in to see if they would rippen off the vine and be safe from the spots...but nope. I have a tray of tough green tomatoes. Sadly my chickens won't eat tomatoes and I hate to compost anything that could ruin my soil. I hate waste. It was 38 degrees when we got up today..so I'm thinking I need to pull in what I have. My Kale is very happy and I'm very glad I got about 20 plants going early enough to be established. Lots of juicing through the winter.

Fall is coming fast in upstate NY.....that means time for crafts and I'll be getting my knitting needles out soon.