Tag Archives: Tomato

Today’s Harvest Basket 10/13

Late tomatoes picked early.

Cooler weather slows the ripening process, stretching the season.

One of the reasons I still have tomatoes in October is that the transplants went into the ground in July, ensuring an extended season.

These tomatoes were picked early and green, but with a little color. The only reason to pick them early is to keep the squirrels away from the last of the home-grown tomatoes. Pick tomatoes any time after they have a little color and they will continue to ripen.

In a few days, this tomato will be red and ripe.

I am not a fan of fried green tomatoes, or any fried food. So, picking tomatoes in hope of  home-grown heirlooms is our preference. Later, when the frost warning is posted, I’ll gather green tomatoes for a green tomato salsa as the 2017 tomato finale.

By mid October, garden tomatoes can be long gone, especially in drought years. We are lucky to have tomatoes in the garden, in containers and even a dwarf tomato in planter boxes on the deck. Most  are eaten fresh, but the cherry tomatoes go in the dehydrator.

Dehydrated cherry tomato halves are my version of the too-pricey gourmet specialty, sun-dried tomatoes. The sweet and intensely flavored tomato bits will go into soups, sauces and chili this winter.

It is time to start collecting seed from of my biggest and best tomatoes. The pantry is full of salsa, pasta sauces, tomato soup, and pickled tomatoes for winter use. I have  grown, canned, dried and frozen every tomato our family will eat this year.

Favorite tomato recipes on my pinterest page. Tomato Everything and Canning.

Plus, read Ten tips for the biggest tomatoes.

In 3 days, these yellow-green tomatoes will be as bright orange and juicy as the 4th tomato.

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Today’s Harvest Basket 9/28

The Tomato Basket is full

The yellow ones that are still a little green weigh about a pound each.

It’s been a few days since I could be in the garden, so when I went out today, I found an abundance of tomatoes in all sizes, colors and shapes.

Some of the big tomatoes are picked green to keep them from the squirrels. Big ripe tomatoes are also a favorite of the squirrel gang here at the Hobson Estate. Once tomatoes start to turn color, go ahead and pick.

Tomatoes are not pretty this time of the year. But they are still tasty and ideal for juicing and smoothies. Some of these are destined to become spiced tomato jam. The recipe is perfect for small batch  canning.

Ball® freshTECH Automatic Home Canning System is an easy way to prepare small batches. It’s safer for me than trying to haul heavy canners and boiling water. I make small batches of salsa, jam, tomato sauce all summer as I collect enough tomatoes to can.

Small tomatoes

Six pints of cherry tomatoes went into the dehydrator. This version of sun-dried tomatoes, will add richness to any recipe. If you are looking to add layers of flavor to a dish, try adding the sweet, intense flavor of dried tomatoes.

Grape, cherry and pear tomatoes come in a rainbow of colors.

Pickled Cherry Tomatoes

6 cups cherry tomatoes
6 big sprigs of fresh dill, rosemary, or thyme
3 cloves of garlic sliced in half
2 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt

Prepare and sterilize three-pint jars, lid and rings.

Pack the jars with the tomatoes, herbs, garlic, dividing each ingredient evenly among the jars.

In a small saucepan, combine the vinegar, water, salt and sugar over medium-high heat until all the ingredients are boiling. Using a funnel, pour the hot liquid into the jars, leaving about a half-inch of headspace.

Process the jars in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.

Look for container varieties for small space gardening.

Cherry tomatoes are the first to ripen at the beginning of the season. When the full size tomatoes begin producing, the cherries go into the food dehydrator.

These over achievers will keep producing until the first freeze. It’s worth having at least one cherry tomato plant in every garden or patio.

 

 

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Today’s Harvest Basket 6/29/14

June 29, 2014

cucumbers, squash, onions, tomato

Good thing we like cucumbers. We are picking them everyday.

Good thing we like cucumbers. We are picking them everyday. Five picked today.

The little 2″ diameter tomatoes are “stupice”. They produced the first tomatoes of the season, a month ahead of my usual tomatoes.

Yes, eventually we will have too many cucumbers. Soon I will make refrigerator pickles and keep a bowl of cucumbers and onion slices in herb vinegar all the time while we have them.

  • Organic Cucumber, Chinese Suyo Long
  • White Wonder heirloom Cucumber

There are two more kinds of cukes I am growing this year. One is the little Kerby-type, which got planted late. My all-time favorites, an English cucumber, which I am just wondering about and will go looking for tomorrow.

Eventually, I’ll can a few garlicy dill sandwich slices and peppery spears. Plus, if I could only make one pickle, it would be the famous bread and butter pickle.

Uncle Ebb got a few white cucumbers on a sales trip, he shared them with his mom, my grandmother.

She grew the white cukes and saved seed for some years. White wonder are very crisp. don’t let them get big because they get bitter and need to be peeled.

Nichols Garden Nursery offers seed for white wonder cucumbers and stupice tomatoes.

A packet of 25 White Wonder seed from Burpee is $3.95.  Nichols offers White Wonder cucumber seed about 45 Seeds for $1.85.

Stupice heirloom tomato will be your first tomato of the year.

Stupice heirloom tomato will be your first tomato of the year.

Stupice tomato

Bred in the former Czechoslovakia, stupice is lunchbox size.

Cold-tolerant tomatoes ripen red slightly oval. They get better and sweeter as the weather gets warmer.

May Day!

To me, May 1st is a the beginning of the growing season, the get outside season. The mantra is “Never Waste a Day of May”.

We’ve had several meals with asparagus so far this year. The purple asparagus are producing more and bigger stalks. They are big, tender stalks that turn green when cooked. Infact, I am planting a few more crowns this year.

I paid for 2-year roots, Jersey Knights, but I don’t believe that is what I received. There are several female plants and the stalks are skinny. They have been growing for three years.

Read more about Asparagus on my hub pages and find great recipes on my Pinterest page: Asparagus Everything or just checkout my Pinterest.

Last night we had a salad of “thinnings,” mixed lettuce, baby chard and, arugula, a few radishes and green onions. How to grow and cook Swiss chard. Or checkout my gardening pages at Hub Pages.

Chive flowers are just a day away. Photo pbh

Chive flowers are just a day away. Photo pbh

The chives are about in full bloom. That means get the vinegar bottles washed and ready. Take advantage of the earliest herb garden offering, make several containers of chive vinegar.

Mixed Herb Vinegar – Put the pink chive blossoms in a quart jar and fill with white vinegar. I use white wine vinegar. Top the jar with a piece of plastic wrap to keep the lid from coming directly in contact with the metal lid.

In two weeks, taste and see if it has the right flavor. If it is too mild, cover and wait for another week. Strain out blossoms, cap and store. Chives are flavor layer number one. We will add more herbs as the season progresses.

The two small bottles in the middle are simply chive vinegar. Chive blossoms are beautiful but not here for long. photo pbh

The two small bottles in the middle are simply chive vinegar. photo pbh

Make more than you think you will need. The delicate pink colored vinegar is very good on it’s own. I use a lot of this right away on tender young salad greens. You get just a hint of chive flavor mixed into a light salad dressing.

Keep a few small, decorative bottles on had for gourmet gifts. Include a salad dressing  recipe card.

 

 

 

TOMATO REPORT

• Tomatoes in 5 gallon buckets:

  Gold Medal (75 days indet) Bicolor, yellow with streaks of red inside. Winner of several tomato taste contests. Early for a big tomato, sweet, low acid, 1 pound).
Pineapple (85 days indet) Bicolor yellow with red streaks produces big beefsteak type  1 and 2 pound tomatoes.
Omar’s Lebanese (80 days indet) Whileit has won size records, I’ve never got those giants in my garden, though it is prolific.
Hillbilly or Flame (80-85 days indet)
are planted in water saver 5 gallon buckets. All four of the above tomatoes promise 1 pound tomatoes. Read more: Best Home Garden Tomatoes: Hillbilly or Flame Tomato. 

Bison (65-77 days det) tomato is in a 5 gallon bucket over at Neighbor Dorothy’s house. Promises to be a heavy producer.

Though, bucket tomatoes usually under produce in size and quantity. The taste is true in flavor, tasting  like the ones grown in the garden or in a container.

• Tomatoes in containers (giant planters)

Great White is in a container along the patio wall.

80-85 days. Large, 1-lb giant, creamy white fruit, this tomato is superbly wonderful. The flesh is so good and deliciously fruity, it reminds one of a mixture of fresh-cut pineapple, melon and guava. One of our favorite fresh-eating tomatoes! Fruit are smoother than most large beefsteak types, and yields can be very high. Introduced by Gleckler’s Seedsmen. – This description from Baker Creek.

•  Raised beds in garden soil

All are heirlooms requiring sturdy support or staking. Good ole’ garden soil tends to produce the biggest and most tomatoes of  the 3 locations.

Black Krim (80 days indet) is one of the most popular black tomatoes.

Heirloom whose big leafy vines produce lots of slightly lobed deep purple/”black” fruits whose juicy, rich red flesh offers sweet and delicious flavor.  Described by Renee’s Garden.

 Carbon (80 days indet) is my favorite black tomato. The fruit are beautiful, lightly lobed and blemish free, heavy producer of  8-10 ounce tomatoes.

Persimmon (80 days indet) is new to me. 1 pound tomatoes are promised, meaty texture and mild flavored. Orange.

Costoluto Genovese ( 80 days indet) looks like an old fashioned, deep red Italian tomato because it is. Beautifully lobed rich, deep tomatoey flavor, great for canning, pasta sauces, and lovely on a plate of sliced heirloom tomatoes. Been around since the 19th century.

 

 = my favorites

Tomato seeds from:

Baker Creek

Renee’s Garden

Todays Harvest Basket October 12, 2012

Riesentraube cherry tomatoes, weighing about a half an ounce or 3/4 an ounce. Earlier this season they were averaging 1 to 1 and 1/2 ounces. I pulled up this tomato vine today, ending the tomato season for the year.

The beautiful bicolor Copia tomato was producing half pound fruits in my garden. Other gardeners bragged about one pound fruits. I will grow these again because they are meaty and have few seeds.

Sweet and mild red cheese peppers. Use them like you do bell peppers. They make cute little stuffers.

Read my Hub Pages review of Copia tomatoes. Best tomatoes from seed: Copia heirloom

Copia, bicolor, full, juicy tomatoes. Thin skins, few seeds and generally yellow with red streaks.

 

Copia tomatoes do not grow or look the same. These slices all came from the same tomato vine, picked the same day.

 

Indigo Rose New Blue Tomato

 

I’m updating this story very often. Mainly because, it is rare to discover a new wholesome food. There are lots of hybrids out there but this is a completely new tomato. Read more.

Rose Marie Nichols said, “You know Patsy, this tomato has the highest level of Anthocyanins anywhere.”

I just nodded, hoping I appeared to know what she was talking about. But I went flying to the internet to learn more about Anthocyanins. It’s the pigment that makes blueberries blue and the reason they are so good for you.

Scientists are asking if Anthocyanins are helping fight cancer or wrinkles. But we do know anthocyanins are one of the best reasons we should eat deep colored fruits and vegetables.

Jim Myers, dept of horticulture, OSU is the wizard behind the research. He develops improved vegetable varieties to support gardeners, growers and processors in the Pacific Northwest (PNW).

This tomato plant is still evolving. Buy the time the University has completed it’s research, it is likely Indigo Rose will end up other positive traits like stronger disease resistance.

I grow tomatoes that tell a story, like so many heirlooms do.

Since every other tomato I grow is an heirloom, this is indeed unusual in my experience. I like growing tomatoes that come with a story and a history. Like Granny Cantrell.

Granny Cantrell produces big, one-pound tomatoes in my garden.

Seed from this tomato came from a WW II souldier who gave it to Lettie Cantrell on his return to the US.

Lettie said she saved the seed from the largest tomatoes every year. It was the only tomato she grew in the hills of eastern Kentucky. She grew this tomato every year from the 1940’s until she died in 2005.

I agree with Lettie. The Granny Cantrell tomato is a rich old fashioned beed steak type tomato.

If I could grow only one tomato, it just might be this one with big, red one – pound fruits.

 

 

Raised beds and high hopes

Tomatoes

I have raised beds and high hopes for Southeast Missouri garden, zone 6A. We are still a couple of weeks away from the juicy giant tomato of my dreams.

“Do you want a tomato sandwich?” I yelled out the back door last summer.

“Tomato sandwich? You mean without the Bacon?” Jules replied.

This was an un paralleled act of generosity on my part. I was offering to share the first big red, ripe tomato of the summer.

Jules won’t come in for a lunch-time tomato sandwich.  He will come in for a Bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich.

Let’s share our tomato favorites throughout the season. Leave a comment, please.

Indigo Rose Saladette tomato. photo PBH

I have a new raised bed that is 4 ft square and I plan to see just how much I can produce in this small space. My point is that we can have fresh home-grown produce in the space of an apartment balcony, or a suburban front porch.

I’m growing great tomatoes in a 5 gallon bucket. Plus, there is room to tuck in a basil plant, some thyme or, some chives.

I am also growing a brand new tomato, Indigo Blue. It is a saladette tomato, meaning bigger than a cherry tomato but smaller than a Celebrity. Saladette is a GIANT Cherry or a really small beefsteak.

All my garden seed is from:

Renee’s Garden

Baker Creek Heirloom Seed

Nichols Seeds

Southern Exposure Seed Exchange

Indigo Rose, a purple tomato

 

Saladette tomatoes, the smaller tomatoes, but bigger than cherries.

Saladette tomatoes, the smaller tomatoes, but bigger than cherries.

Linnaeus Day
Garden writer and photographer Christopher Tidrick, who lives and gardens in Champaign IL USA, has started a cool new blog, From The Soil.

Chris has started a Linnaeus Day series, where he and his blogging friends write about the history of a plant growing in our own garden. It’s on the 23rd of every month.

The series will honor Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus, the father of modern botanical taxonomy. Born May 23, 1707. This is some of his work:  the photo is from Wikipedia 

 

This plant doesn’t have much of a history because it is a new tomato.

Grow your own superfood in the back yard. Indigo Rose Tomato is the first high anthocyanin tomato.

saladette tomato

Anthocyanin rich, organic tomato is now available to home gardeners. Photo: Helen Hilman

Jim Myers, dept of horticulture at Oregon State University has been working on this classically one for ten years. He’s still working on Indigo Rose, and you can expect some more traits.

Indigo Rose Tomato

  • 75 days from transplant to harvest.
  • 2 ounces each
  • indeterminate
  • organic

What are Anthocyanins?

Anthocyanin pigments are responsible for the red, purple, and blue colors of many fruits and vegetables. Anthocyanins offer protection against certain cancers, cardiovascular disease and age-related degenerative diseases. There is evidence that anthocyanins also have anti-inflammatory activity, promote visual acuity and hinder obesity and diabetes. Food scientists and horticulturists are interested in these compounds because of their importance to the color quality of fresh and processed fruits and vegetables.

The purple coloring occurs on the portion of the fruit that is exposed to light, while the shaded portion start out green and turn deep red when mature. Inside, the flesh reveals the same red tone.

In business for more than 60 years, Nichols Garden Nursery has seed for the New Indigo Rose Organic Tomato. Nichols is an original signer of the Safe Seed Pledge, and offers no GMO/Genetically engineered seeds or plants. All their seed are untreated.

I’ve been buying herb plants and vegetable seeds from Nichols for more than 20 years. I call Rose Marie Nichols McGee when I have herb questions. One of my favorite food garden blogs is her Garden Pantry.

Buy seed here:

Nichols Garden Nursery is an independent family business serving home gardeners for more than 60 years. Phone – 800-422-3985.

Johnny’s Selected Seeds helping families, friends, and communities to feed one another by providing superior seeds, tools, information, and service. Phone – 877-Johnnys (877-564-6697).

Territorial Seed Company wants customers to be 100% satisfied with both the seed and supplies that you buy from them. Phone Orders: 800-626-0866.

My Garden Bloggers Food Day

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day shows off all the blooms in my garden on August 15 2011. Even more than blooming, this month is about what happens after the bloom. The produce, fruit or seed that is created after the flower.

Rosa Bianco eggplant, tomatoes, Clairimore zucchini

I am trying to stay ahead of the of the zucchini production by picking them small, like the two little ones on the right. The blossoms are still attached to these Clairimore variety. The bigger ones became chocolate zucchini cake or zucchini and black walnut cake with lemon glaze.

This year, is not a good year for my garden. I couldn’t water enough to keep up hardy production.

Rosa Bianca Eggplant

Rosa Bianca Eggplant, a mild italian eggplant

The garden plants are stressed and more suseptible to insects and disease. Flea beetles are eating up the plants faster than the plants can produce eggplants.

I only got in a couple of pickings  of green beans before a gang of bug thugs moved in and trashed the bean patch.

I’ve planted a few more beans, hoping to get in a late crop of  haricots verts (skinny and tender French

Flea beetle damage. The little tiny holes in leaves and roots.

green beans) And a couple more cucumbers and squash to replace the ones killed by insects. It’s just a gamble to see if they produce before a killing frost. The space was empty and I had extra seed. We shall see.

Tomato plants did not set blooms because it was so hot. So, I will have a smaller than anticipated harvest. I’ll make some tabouli and a batch of gazpacho. Plus, I have enough to share with neighbors.

I won’t have enough to can or put up as salsa. But I did have enough for a couple of taste testings with the nine different varieties of heirloom tomatoes.  I’ll eventually review them all in my HubPages. There is a lot of good tomato information.

Best Home Garden Tomatoes: Paul Robeson

Best Home Garden Tomatoes: Royal Hillbilly

Next year, I’ll grow a few of the best tomatoes from this summer. And, I’ll grow some heirlooms I’ve never tried before.

The real reason I grow thin skinned, rich flavored, juicy heirloom tomatoes is simple:

BLT

Sourdough bread, crisp lettuce, oven baked thick sliced bacon.

Bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwiches and

Insadada Caprese

Heirloom tomatoes, mozzerella cheese, balsamic vinegar, olive oil.

Insadada Caprese.

Double your tomato production

Try cloning tomatoes

tomato stem

Clip tomato branch. Remove flowers to encourage root growth.

To extend the tomato season, consider cloning your favorite tomato plants. The new plant will produce tomatoes just like it’s parent.

Here in the heartland, zone 6 we are about half way through the summer growing season. I think I have about two and a half months left before our first frost.

If you haven’t planted tomatoes yet, ask a gardening friend for a cutting of their tastiest plants. As I stake my tomatoes, I zometimes break off unruly stems that won’t be supported by my tomato stakes.

Carbon

This heirloom started out as a cutting. The plant produced as heavily as the parent plant.

Put that broken tomato plant branch, or cutting directly in the ground at least six or eight inches deep. Place a stake beside the stem. The big tomato stake or cage will stand as guardian over your little cloned tomato plant. Since this new plant has no roots yet, you MUST keep the soil well watered. At first, the cutting or broken branch that you stuck in the ground, will be limp. Don’t give up. Keep watering the planted stem at least twice a day. Shading your cutting will reduce the stress as your new tomato plant starts making roots.

Cloning plants will get you tomatoes faster than starting from seed at mid season. It is too late to start tomatoes from seed.

I broke off a branch of a Carbon tomato plant about a month ago. The black heirloom tomato plant is named Carbon and I am happy to have more of these large, rich tasty tomatoes.

Starting warm season plants midsummer, means that fruits will be developing during the cooler, end of summer weather. Be prepared to cover or protect the heat loving tomato plants during cool nights.

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