πŸ… πŸ… πŸ… Tomatoes, Tomatoes, and More Tomatoes πŸ… πŸ… πŸ…

in garden β€’Β  last year

4 Things we learned and what we did with all of them...


We planted about a hundred plants and so many different varieties all non-gmo and organic and most were heirloom. See my previous article for all the varieties https://steemit.com/garden/@drprepper/garden-update-going-strong but since we knew how versatile tomatoes are we really focused on caring for them and we learn more every year.

#1: Plant Paste Tomatoes

We love raw tomatoes and the beauty of a bowl full of pretty fruit is hard to argue with but for canning and sauces you need paste tomatoes. Also, with so many green and yellow varieties our sauces and juice are less red than we would have liked.

#2: Hornworms with Wasp Eggs are a Good Thing

We were killing them indiscriminately until we wondered what the white things are. They are eggs of braconid wasps and the larvae kills hornworms and creates more killers so leave them alone or move them and let the wasp lifecycle continue. Tilling also kills 90% of the hornworm larvae in the ground.


Source

#3: Use Cattle or Hog Panels

With so many plants cages are just not feasible at a certain point. We used a system of T-posts, tomato stakes, and wire to cover 6 rows of tomatoes. It worked pretty good but training and sometimes breaking plants was painful as was the weight of MANY plants and their fruit. Panels are relatively cheap but extremely strong and most farms have them lying around


Source

#4: Use Winter Livestock Bedding for Mulch

This was my wife's idea to cut down on weeds and wow did it work. This was actually a quadruple purpose winners of an idea as we had to clean out the barn and control weeds and retain moisture and for the added bonus of goat manure. The plants went from meh to wow after the first rain.


What did we do with all those tomatoes?

  1. Ate them raw - Plain and with salt, on BLTs and in salads
  2. Gave them away - Anybody that wanted some got a batch
  3. Canned them - We did whole tomatoes, salsa, sauce, and juice/soup
  4. Experimented with them - The big one this year was homemade sugar-free ketchup which I thought was outstanding and pizza sauce which should be good

None went to waste and I can't wait to crack those cans open in the middle of winter. If you liked this then...

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Fantastic my friend. If you have any green ones I encourage you to make Green tomato Pie, it is really good and tastes like apple pie. I make a post about 5 days ago I think about it and the recipe included. Upvoted

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That sounds amazing we will do that for sure next season!

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Wow what a wonderful variety of tomatoes! I'm glad to hear that your research and hard work payed off- thanks for sharing your tips with us!

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Thank you and yes it finally did pay off. We were tired of getting only a handful of tomatoes

Glad to see all your gardening work.
We planted this year various tomatoes, and we enjoyed getting the different yields.
Keep it up!

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Thank you sir!

Every summer I harvest more tomatoes than I know what to do with! One of my favorite things to make is tomato jam. It is so sweet and flavorful and really reminds you that tomatoes are a fruit. I will often times add basil to the recipe as well. It is a nice addition to cheese and crackers. Delish!

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We will have to try that! We did dry some and oh wow sweet and sour and yes very much a fruit.

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When I dry tomatoes, I dip them in a yummy vinegar (my fav is a champagne walnut vinegar, but any will do), this ups the acidity. Then i cover them with olive oil. It is the most delicious snack!

That's a lot of tomatoes! And I thought we loved tomatoes. Would you mind sharing your sugar-free ketchup recipe? We don't like added sugars in our food. I like the idea of the panels. That seems much easier than regular cages. We use mulch in the garden all the time. Less weeds and better yields. Resteemed.

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I will get the recipe from my wife. I thought it was AMAZING but she wants to cut back the vinegar.

We were overrun with tomatoes this year! Of all the things we grew, these grew the best by FAR! We gave away sooo many, and made some salsa. We grew funky heirloom varieties this year and I loved all the colors!

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Yeah we do too. The green zebra was by far our favorite and prettiest.

Sounds like you must have grown a ton of tomatoes. You gave some great ideas about how to grow them, almost effortlessly! Thanks! πŸ“πŸ“

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We did, although staying organic and non-gmo is challenging to say the least but being healthy aint easy today

Your picture of that bowl of tomato's is gorgeous. Boy, they sure do look yummy.

I just saw my first parasitic host worm a few days ago. I normally throw them all to the chickens but I left that fella as a nice meal for the wasps to come. Great shot of that one too.

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Thanks that was our prettiest bowl of the year. We used to get rid of them until we learned about the eggs.

First two pics are mine but the last two were sourced. It is a great shot though.

That's quite a variety of tomatos. My plants didn't do very well this year. I'm not sure what happened. I did everything about the same as last year and I guess I lost my green thumb. So kudos to you on your harvest.

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Good years and bad years, all we can do is keep learning

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So true. Just a question, do you rotate where you plant? I read that if you plant tomatoes in this plot then next season you should plant something different. I guess this lessens the depletion of minerals in the soil. Or do you amend the soil to add back the minerals.

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Yes we rotate by row and till every year although next year we're moving the garden closer to the house and water source. My wife also has a test kit and tests the soil every year and we amend if needed.

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Good idea, I was rotating by bed and I don't have a very large garden. Rotating by row would likely make a more efficient use of space. I have been using litmus paper to test the soil but I am still lost as to what amends to add. The litmus test (as you probably know) only tells the pH. I don't know how to translate pH level into how much N (nitrogen), P (phosphorus) or K (potassium) to add.