Sunday, March 17, 2013

My Tomatoes are UP!

 this is from last year
Three years ago when I had Cancer and was under going chemo-therapy (chemo-torture!) I still planted tomatoes.  I planted them last weekend and they are up already, a beginning of their life and a milestone in mine.  I have planted a garden every single year since I was about twelve years old and saved tomato seeds from previous seasons for about the last 20 years.  I use Heritage seeds and prefer the darker varieties, Cherokee Purple, Black Krim and other varieties that you can't get at the store.
Store bought tomatoes have the taste and texture of apples compared to the home grown varieties.
They are picked green and colored in a room full of gas and never allowed to naturally ripen.  A real tomato is juicy on the inside and can be smelled from across the room.  They are packed in flavor.
   One year I went a little crazy and planted 135 plants, devoted my entire garden to them.  Now I limit them to 20 to 25 plants and give the rest away to neighbors and friends.  I start about 50 to 75 in my greenhouse every year.  Mostly I dry them in a dehydrator I built about 25 years ago.  I dry  them to the consistency of potato chips and give lots of those away when I have a good season.  I like them best as a chip of tomato and a slice of cheese on a cracker offering an explosion of flavor to the pallet, but they can be used in salads and soups also, or reconstituted with balsam vinegar  and a little olive oil.
Commercial dried tomatoes are made from commercial tomatoes and are not the same thing at all.
   If you don't have a garden a tomato plant will do well in a five gallon bucket as long as you tend it and it has good composted soil.  My plants get about seven feet tall so staking them is important.  Put it in a sunny location and make holes for drainage.
   Saving seeds is easy.  Just squish them out on a paper towel and put them on a shelf to dry.  In the Spring I just tear off a seed with a piece of the towel and plant it.
I put slate over plywood where there are no windows.
   I have a great greenhouse I built about 40 years ago.  It has a concrete floor and concrete walls (concrete block would work) about three feet up.   This great foundation is why my greenhouse has lasted so long but it also acts as a heat sink and store the heat built up during the day.  I can heat my greenhouse when necessary using only a little 100 watt heater, set on low at that.  It has a big fan in the eave that turns on automatically when the temperature rises over 100 degrees which happens all the time when the sun is out, even in the winter!

I love Spring, another season, another year.  I am always after that "perfect tomato"!

You can see more of my garden HERE
Real Tomatoes!


Dionne said...

I miss real tomatoes. The store bought ones just aren't the same. This post has inspired me to try and find the old fashion seeds and plant some this year.

stonepost said...

give me your address Dionne and I will send you some! free!

Graciewilde said...

inspiring! i always want to garden and get stuff in the ground - especially tomatoes! but it usually is less productive than i had hope. We often get too much coastal fog to produce many tomatoes but you are so right - home grown tomatoes are the only way to go!

rama said...

Love you garden, and your tomatoes. I would love to have a vegetable/ fruit garden in our house, but the biggest problem are the squirrels, they are real destroyers, and now to add more to the problem is our 8 months old lab who loves to eat everything, and if she cannot eat she will destroy them. She destroyed so many rose plats, hibiscus. We just have one guava tree, one coconut tree, and one cashew tree,we hardly get any fruit to eat for nothing is ever left to fully become ripe.
Well enjoy your tomatoes Jerry, you are lucky.