If you’ve been busy saving heirloom tomato seeds and want a cute and simple way ensure they are labeled for the coming year then I’ve gotcha covered.
Forget seed catalogs, I’m shopping for my tomatoes at the farmer’s market.
If you neglected to put a tomato cage around your plants when they were small, it’s not too late to wrangle out of control stems back into an orderly form. In fact, it’s a great time to get out there are support your plants. What better way to get some garden therapy for Weekend Project #43?
Tomatoes in upside-down planters make a great use of space but there are a few important things to know so that your efforts will be fruitful.
The race is on. It’s the time of year when you encourage (plead) with tomatoes to ripen before they succumb to the horrors of Late Blight.
It first starts with a few yellowing leaves. Yikes. Remove these right away!
Then a few brown leaves and whitish-grey powder (spores) can be seen. Ack! Remove these immediately! At this point you could also top the plants by cutting the main runnier to prevent more flowering and send the plants energy into fruiting.
Sadly, there will start to be grey-brown spots on the stems which means the race has heated up. Cut off the stems that you can, and if the blight is widespread, begin defoliating the plants to allow all the plants energy into ripening the tomatoes.
It all happens so fast. You can go from lush green plants with many hidden tomatoes (August 2011), to sad looking sticks with ripening fruits (September 2011) in no time as seen in these photos of our raised bed tomato garden and self-watering container tomato garden.
Generally, we win the race and see late blight as a reality of growing tomatoes. Taking the proper precautions in the beginning of the growing season will greatly improve your odds.
- Rotate tomatoes to different parts of the garden each year. It takes 3 years for the fungus to leave the soil.
- Grow healthy plants: start plants off strong as seedlings, and feed and water them well through the season. Healthy plants are the best defence to disease and pests.
- Keep the leaves dry by watering the soil below as opposed to top watering.
- Grow plants undercover such as under a greenhouse, plastic dome, or roof overhang.
- Wash tools every time you use them, particularly when snipping off the blighty bits.
It’s that time of year again that keeps my hands and my senses overloaded. I hoard fresh produce when I see it at a market or farm, or by climbing my neighbour’s trees like a squirrel and collecting way to0 many figs, or by diving deep into the wild blackberry brambles for fresh blackberries. I can’t help it. It’s a compulsion.
Here are a few photos of the harvesting frenzy for the last full week of August. How can you blame me for stocking up?
Figs are abundant again on my neighbours tree although not as much as they were last year. I made balsamic, fig, & rosemary preserves, dried figs in my dehydrator, and plan to make whole figs in a balsamic syrup.
I picked up pickling cukes at a farm this year for the first time and they are pickling away in my dining room.
My secret blackberry picking spot was loaded this year so I made blackberry pie, blackberry jam, blackberry & blueberry jam, and froze some for baking and ice cream.
The tomatoes are staring to come in as well, some of which have seen dehydrated, others made into sauce for the winter.
Any other squirrels out there stocking up for the winter?
There has been so much that has needed harvesting with the cool and super wet weather that we have been having that I just can’t keep up with it all. This is a collection from my home garden and my community garden plot: many tomatoes, fairy tale eggplant, leeks, small wonder spaghetti squash, zucchini, a baby cinderella pumpkin, and hops from the community plot (what the heck am I going to do with the hops???)
I also needed to pull out some carrots from the home garden before the dreaded rust fly burrowed in.
And I’ve been pulling beets for almost 8 weeks now, whenever we want them for dinner.
Today I went to Tomato Fest at the Trout Lake Farmer’s Market to buy my heirloom tomato ‘seeds’ for next year. The vendors sell tomatoes, not tomato seeds in packets, but really, a tomato is just a delicious and colourful packet filled with of lots and lots of seeds, right? And heirlooms have grown true seed to fruit year after year, so what better way to decide what tomatoes you want in your garden the next year: buy some heirlooms tomatoes, scoop out the seeds, and chow down. If it’s a good tomato – grow more! If it sucks, then just toss the seeds in the compost.
These are the ones I’ll be testing and saving over the next few days to see which will join my most favourite of all heirlooms (some of those favs snuck into the photo even though they came from my garden: Green Zebra, Sweetheart Grape and Siletz). All this for $8.50. Hell yeah!
It seems crazy to BUY more tomatoes when this is the giant bowl I am trying to cope with today from my home garden (this is a really, really big bowl):
Ah, well, I’m sure I’ll find SOMETHING to do with them all….om nom nom nom nom..