It won’t be long now before I have tomatoes coming out of my ears. I totally welcome this, except I kinda didn’t think through the fact that I’m going to be away for the last two weeks of August, which is about when most of them will be ripening. Thankfully I have a whole crew of people who are going to be on deck to take care of the jungle (and the neurotic cat), and their reward will be to pick all the ripe tomatoes they want.
This still puts a dent into my plans to can lots of salsa and to try canning whole tomatoes (stewed tomatoes we called them, when I was a kid). I’m hoping I’ll still have plenty of tomatoes ripening throughout most of September, but by the look of the number of green, full-sized fruits on the vines now, I can’t imagine they’ll wait that long to ripen.
On the plus side, last year I noticed that my grocery store sells cases of locally grown roma tomatoes, so I’m hoping if I miss out on the majority of my own tomatoes, that I’ll still be able to get those to make up the difference. The trick will be that those cases are only available for a very limited time and I can’t quite remember when exactly they came in last year.
Just before I went away last week I made a point of giving my tomato plants a bit of grooming, removing a lot of the lower leaves, especially where there are fruits on the plants. I’m still battling with my tendency to crowd my garden and so I find it really necessary to give the tomatoes a haircut to keep them manageable. I suppose it’s one of the downsides of growing heirloom tomatoes in small spaces. They’re typically indeterminate vines, which means they just keep growing and growing and growing. They’re not at all compact plants. And so far as I’ve been able to tell no one makes bamboo stakes that are longer than 6 feet. Perhaps next year I’ll rig up the trellis system I had in mind but didn’t do this year.
This morning I picked the first of the Red Currant heirloom cherries. They are so teeny tiny! I haven’t eaten it yet, I just keep admiring it, but I’m quite sure it has that perfect salty sweet tart combination that makes cherry tomatoes so fantastic and in a flavour class of their own.
Following on the heels of the very early Stupice tomatoes, I’ve now picked three big Purple Russians. They’re slated for dinner tomorrow night.
I’m not quite sure what to make of my rather wonky crop of cucumbers. I think this is a variety that is meant to be picked small, and while I’ve tried to keep an eye on them, I suspect their wonky shapes are due to the wonky not-so-summery weather we’ve had this year. Despite their poor numbers and odd shapes, I turned them into dill pickles tonight, along with a few pounds of normal looking ones I got at the market this week.
And finally, just another shot of the oh-so-gorgeous Chantenay carrots. Aren’t they just so perfectly stubby, shiny and cute? There are tons more where they came from still in the ground in the garden. Mmmm!