Why The Tomatoes Performed Well

I was out in the garden cleaning up some of the dead vegetation in preparation for winter. When I came to the row of tires that had the tomato plants that produced so many sweet pounds of delicious fruit, I found I had a hard time pulling the dead vines from the ground.

Tomatoes are one of those plants that like to have deep roots and will grow more if the dirt gets layered in around them during the growth spurt between putting them into the soil and when they begin to set fruit.

When I transplanted the tomatoes into the ground, I already had good root growth, but added dirt around the plants as they stretched up.

The tomatoes plants have all died back with the frosts but when I pulled on the old vines the roots did not want to leave the comfy buckets and tires that they were planted in. Most plants had to be snipped off or broken apart in order to release them from the soil.

roots from tomato plantsThe extra roots madeĀ  for a very good crop this year with lots of tomatoes to share with visitors, friends, neighbors and any delivery person that happened to stop at the farm between July and September.

It is hard to believe that it will soon be January again and I will start seeds that I saved from this harvest to begin the next year of garden goodness.

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Drying Tomatoes

A tray full of cherry tomatoes sliced in half and ready to dehydrate.The tri-colored cherry tomatoes are coming on strong and I’m having a hard time giving them all away.

The batch today filled 6 trays on the dehydrator. I cut the tomatoes into halves or quarters to keep the sizes are fairly uniform so they dry with about the same time for all the trays.

Once dried they are cooled and placed in resealable freezer bags. A quick handful can be added to soups, stews and casseroles throughout the winter for added flavor.

And The Winner Is…

Yellow cherry tomatoes on the vine.The first ripe tomato of the season arrived July 4th.

I found the golden gem in the first pod of tomatoes that I had planted in the spring. However, within two days, both the other pod and a plant from the row of tomatoes in the tires also had ripe tomatoes on them.

That means that even though I had planted this plant nearly 1 month before the last ones that I had put in, they all started producing at about the same time. The difference being that I had to go out to the pod each day to cover and uncover the delicate seedlings with the protective plastic compared to moving the garden wagon filled with potted plants inside to be warm and outside for sun exposure.

Even though this part of the science project didn’t yield any new super good ideas for new seedling tomatoes, the rewards will be that I can share lots and lots of cherry tomatoes for the rest of the summer.

Oh Yes They Are

I spotted them before the end of May, itsy-bitsy tomatoes have set on the cherry tomato plants that I started from seeds. The whole process started while the snow was on the ground in January and I have babied them along, periodically transferring them to larger and larger pots.Tiny tomatoes have started to form on the plants in the garden.

I finally unloaded, err passed out, err donated the last of the plants. This was after I had planted 27 of them into my garden. I had planted the 2 early batches in 5-block-pods with the plastic cover that can be lifted around them when the cool fall weather starts.

A row of tires on the right side of the garden are planters for tomatoes and potatoes.The rest are in a line of tires. The tires help gather warmth during the daylight hours and holds the warmth into the evenings.

A few plants in both the pods and in the tires have the small tomatoes forming.

When bragging to a friend about my line of tires all planted and showing this picture, I was asked how I could be eating veggies out of the garden when all it looks like I am growing is a bunch of sticks with seed packets on them. I gently pointed out that this is the second section of garden, the first section is where I have my cooler weather plants already growing. That is the greens, lettuce varieties, radishes, peas, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, etc.

Tomato Pods

Living in the Coast Range of the Pacific Northwest provides us with a lot of opportunities. Growing tomatoes is not one of them.

We are a little cooler up here than the Willamette Valley. Sitting between two hills makes for slightly shorter days with the sun a few minutes later to rise and a few minutes earlier to set each day. Positioned close to the Nehalem River creates more moisture during those long summer days giving the fruit a greater chance to mold or rot. We are about 2 weeks later to have crops ripen and sometimes months ahead of getting the first frost of the season. Continue reading

Transplanted Tomato Starts

A tray of seedling tomatoes.My little tray of seedling tomatoes are cramped and it is time to transfer them to larger pots so they can develop strong roots.

So far, they have spent their days hugging the window sill in the garage and straining for true sunlight.

The weather has finally warmed to 50 degrees during the day. Once they are packed into the larger pots, I will move them outside during the days and back inside for the cooler nights.

Tomatoes in 4 inch pots.These plants are very tender and bruise easily. Likewise, heavy rain can break the stems if a hard shower pelts them.

They will get stronger as the outside breeze challenges the slender stems.