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.

Garden Dreams

Between snow showers and more rain than I am comfortable with, dreams of the garden are taking shape. We have been working on the pruning and the necessary cleanup of all the limbs, and I started the tomato seeds.

The tomatoes are totally unnecessary, I know that I could go out and buy tomato plants from the local nurseries for about $2 each when the time is ready to plant. But my mind tells me that I need to start a few of my own for a couple of reasons. 1. I can do it. and 2. There can never be too many tomatoes in the garden.

Seedling tomatoes on the window ledge with snow outside.My little seedlings are just about ready to break out their second set of leaves while outside their window another new coating of snow covers the yard and pasture.

I’m waiting for a day with temps above 45 degrees to transplant the little seedlings to 4 inch pots. I may be waiting another week for that project.