Posted 10 May 2002 - 01:46 PM
Posted 10 May 2002 - 03:35 PM
Posted 10 May 2002 - 06:12 PM
I'm a frequent buyer of bruised, unwanted tomatoes. I feel it is my Egulletarian duty to rescue the tomatoes considered ugly and useless by others, and transform them, Cinderella-like, into delicious sauces. I've been known to have 20-25 sauces in the freezer come November.
That said, I also love Brandywines, 'specially if they have dark 'shoulders'. That said, Sungolds, little orange cherry tomatoes, are like pure candy. And I like the fuzzy-textured peach tomatoes, the beautifully arrayed Zebra stripes, and I'd like to strike a deal whereby if you buy the tomatoes, I'll sauce them, with a cut of the sauce going to the house, of course.
Posted 10 May 2002 - 08:54 PM
Your offer sounds very interesting. On which side of the Continental Divide do you reside?
Posted 12 May 2002 - 09:48 AM
Posted 12 May 2002 - 01:41 PM
Small/Cherry: Riesentraube, Isis Candy, Red Currant, Grape, Yellow Pear
Medium/Plum: Martino's Roma, San Marzano, White Beauty, Green Zebra (does anyone know how you are supposed to know when green tomatoes are ripe?)
Large: Black from Tula, German Red Strawberry, Hawaiian Pineapple
I bought them all at Cross Country Nurseries in NJ. Here is a link to their website: http://www.chileplants.com/. They are primarily known for their enormous selection of chilies, which you can mail order, and there are great pictures of most types of chilies on the website. If you want tomatoes you have to go to the nursery, they only mail order the chilies. Here's a link to my post in the Special Occasions forum about my visit to the nursery.
Posted 12 May 2002 - 07:58 PM
Posted 13 May 2002 - 02:05 PM
Rachel...I planted the Green Zebra last year for the first time, and I puzzled over ripeness, too. The fruits will start to get a little yellow tinge as they fully ripen, and I found picking them then was best. I also picked quite a few while still pretty bright green, and they weren't bad...they'll ripen in a bowl with other tomatoes, too. These have a great, tomato-y flavor, a little more acidic than some.
I'm debating over a paste tomato or two...my space is tight, and I can always buy a flat at the Farmers Mkt for drying at the end of the summer. I'm tempted to make sun-dried paste like we saw in Sicily, but don't think it's hot enough here in September.
The Sungolds are hard to beat for eating off the vine. When I get home on a hot summer afternoon, sweating from my bike ride and craving a cold beer, I'll still head back into the garden to eat a few handfuls...when they are warm from the sun and near to bursting with sugar, they taste great.
Real Good Food
Posted 14 May 2002 - 05:30 AM
liza, it sounds like you've got a good deal going on. as for me, i want a balance between eating/slicing tomatoes and canning/sauce tomatoes. we plant at least half romas--depends on your space? my largest tomato garden was 68 plants--a more managable average is around 35. this number guarantees me at least three good cannings. when i do a canning, i can everything, but the romas are so much easier to work with--require less surgery. my husband is the seed man--he starts all his tomatoes from seed in february. we've had some luck with yellow-fleshed heirlooms, but havne't gotten too exotic or esoteric. georgia's summers have been so hot and dry the last four years we've just been going for hardy and easy-to-grow. many of our fruits have ended up with sun damage.
Posted 14 May 2002 - 06:55 AM
Selection of Chiles
I know they aren't technically homegrown, but it does make for a fun day of shopping and sampling! They let you roam the fields and munch off the plants...
Give a man a fish, he eats for a Day.
Teach a man to fish, he eats for Life.
Teach a man to sell fish, he eats Steak
Posted 14 May 2002 - 07:24 AM
Posted 14 May 2002 - 07:54 AM
Posted 14 May 2002 - 08:10 AM
Posted 14 May 2002 - 11:14 AM
This year I've planted Roma and Brandywine, and Castoluto Genovese, (which Thomas Jefferson grew at Monticello, I read), like a tomato TREE last year, which was my first experience with it. Hope it thrives again. So much of gardening, for me at least, is luck.
Posted 17 May 2002 - 10:53 AM
Principe Borghese (Territorial Seeds), sauce/drying - grew this years ago and recall liking them
Tiger Like (T.S) - heirloom, small striped, great flavor and prolific, short plant - prize winner at taste-off 2000
Costoluto Genovese (T.S.) - heirloom, great flavor, hard to peel as the skin is ruffled - another prize winner 2000
Jubilee (Solly's Choice) - yellow (end of old seeds)
Oregon Spring (Ed Hume and Seeds West) - because I have them and they are reliable
Red and Yellow Pear (Renee's Garden) - terrible growing conditions last year, yet they still produced
Camp Joy (Shephard's Seeds) - cherry, clusters - they were great last year
Isis Candy - start, yellow cherry, new to me
Yellow Brandywine - start, heirloom, no production last year
Master Caruso - start, I know nothing about it
Tomatillo - Toma Verde (Renee's Garden) - easy and prolific
In case anyone doesn't know, Shephard's Seeds was sold to a big distributor (White Flower Farms?) and Renee Shephard started back up as Renee's Garden. At least that is my understanding. The fun thing about Renee's Garden is they mix in a couple of color coded varieties in a packet (tomatoes, squash, etc), so you can get more variation in a single year.
Posted 04 June 2002 - 10:00 AM
Any and all input is welcomed
Posted 04 June 2002 - 10:56 AM
The first time I went to a Morton's restaurant they had a beefsteak tomato salad which looked pretty good. So after I finished my first glass of wine, I asked for the "beefcake" tomato salad. I wonder if the waiter thought I was coming on to him?
Posted 04 June 2002 - 11:00 AM
1. You can have great success with patio crops. While you still have the summer's worth of long sunny days and some measure of heat control, start your container garden with whatever variety you wish, with the proviso that all small plants that begin to thrive in these warm weeks will eventually need accommodations in 5-gal pots each, minimum if you are planning to move them inside later on to borrow a few more weeks out of a late season.
2. plukkin': a.If you wish to pull 'em green and thwart the birds, follow the aforementioned dark shoulders advice I saw earlier in this thread for reds and pull a greenie when its blossom end is noticeably darker than its jade-ish butt-end. b.This is an old wives' tale, but if you keep greens on their heads in a cool dark setting, they will turn faster and you can window-cure them once they are a light orange. c.This advice is particularly arcane, but I have an old red plastic coca cola crate, and line red paper between two layers to "quicken the cure"; frankly, it may be hogwash, but some local gardeners here go so far as to buy red mulch netting to encourage the same effect on the vine. I can tell you it is faster than paper bags.
3. heirlooming seeds: I've frozen okra and tomato seeds, and my uncle simply dries them on a towel and puts them in envelopes for the next year. He and I have success with our methods, so do as you like. He is partial to some really hardy, old-fashioned varieties that do well in our brutal summers: Lemon Boy, Merced, Celebrity and Early Girl. My earliest producers this year were Celebrity and Beefsteak. I do not recall your mention of climate or growing season, so some of the fancier or more delicate varieties mentioned by everyone else may be an option for you.
My question to the gallery is this: Can anyone tell me how to dry/roast/smoke tomatoes like they do at Boggy Creek Farms?
Posted 04 June 2002 - 11:09 AM
Miss Sb, if you tent the patch a' la Don Corleone (Godfather I, death scene), you can buy a few more precious, pre-90 degrees.
many of our fruits have ended up with sun damage.
Posted 04 June 2002 - 11:30 AM
Not sure how Boggy Creek does it, but my long term plan is to roast all my veggies for my red sauce. What I planned, and I think I'll give it a 'dry run' with store-bought produce, was to simply drizzle plain olive oil (the extra virgin has a lower smoke point) and coarse salt and freshly cracked pepper over tomatoes, garlic, onion and carrots, cook 'til their done at 350° F. Then peal the garlic and blitz in the Cuisinart with the onions and carrots. Lightly fork smash the tomatoes and add blitzed veggies. Voila, the base of my red sauce with a wonderful roasted flavor. If I could grill (it's prohibited by my condo board, believe it or not, and I can't do the grill pan thing) I might try grilling all the veggies, but I'm not sure how the tomatoes would hold up.
Thanks again for you input.
Posted 04 June 2002 - 12:59 PM
Where are you located? That makes a big difference. I think one of the main keys to success (especially when you're just starting) is to be sure to get tomatoes that are recommended for your area. Gardening in containers on a deck is hard enough...I'd suggest you don't make it any harder by trying some variety that has a history of not performing well in your climate, except maybe when grown by master gardeners.
I'm hoping someone here has a green thumb and can advise me as to the feasability of my plan to grow tomatoes in a potted plant on my very small balcony. I wonder, first off, if two or three plants will yield enough tomatoes to make red sauce from scratch and have enough to freeze for the winter? I'm not the most experienced gardener (have done some landscaping, but that's out of the question on the balcony) and would also appreciate some pointers on caring for the tomato plants: e.g. what to clip, when and why?, how to tell if the tomatoes are ready for plukkin', and finally how to go about taking the seeds and preparing them for seeding next year.
Any and all input is welcomed
I'm in Austin and have just a small deck off of my condo. It faces west, so the infamous Texas sun really beats down. I do all of my gardening in containers, and have been growing tomatoes for years. At first I just grew patio varieties, and cherry tomatoes, but had such good luck, I tried larger varieties. I now grow Early Girl, Celebrity and Merced. I know there may be more exotic, or better, varieties but have had great luck with these three and, like you, have very little space and have to make every square inch count!
The first time I tried the larger varieties, I put them, one plant each, in the large black pastic pots that come from the nurseries. But the first week of June, they stopped setting, and eventually just burned up despite all of the watering I was doing. A friend told me that tomatoes stop setting when their ROOTS get to 95 degrees (not the ambient temperature), and my roots were absolutely cooking up there in the sun in those black pots.
So, I went out and got five cheap big (the largest size available) white styrofoam coolers, jabbed holes in the bottoms, turned the tops upside down to make drain saucers, and planted my tomatoes, one per cooler, with lots of mulch on top to help keep them cool. I fertilize with Miracle Grow for Tomatoes.
This all works for me pretty well. I get at least 70-100 tomatoes per year.
Good luck to you. There's sure nothing like homegrown tomatoes.
IF YOU'RE HAPPY AND YOU KNOW IT SLAP YOUR FRIENDS.
Posted 04 June 2002 - 01:17 PM
Any recommendations of good varieties for my climate with the amount of sun I get, Jaymes (or anyone else)?
Posted 04 June 2002 - 05:12 PM
Posted 04 June 2002 - 06:18 PM
that's pure genius. I plan to steal your idea for next year so I can gift people with the overflow seedlings. I concur with JSD about getting enough moisture to the roots in this manner; would mini French drain systems installed in each cooler with rocks and PVC ameliorate this problem? Perhaps at that point you'd have an over-engineered mess....
So, I went out and got five cheap big (the largest size available) white styrofoam coolers, jabbed holes in the bottoms, turned the tops upside down to make drain saucers, and planted my tomatoes, one per cooler, with lots of mulch on top to help keep them cool.
Posted 04 June 2002 - 06:38 PM
Growing things in pots IS difficult, especially tomatoes. But all I have access to is a very small, west-facing deck, so pots are my only option.
Jaymes, that's very interesting about the root temperature. I never knew that. But growing in pots is also difficult because the plants can dry out and die so quickly. I would recommend some kind of watering system if possible. Plants in the ground had a lot more moisture available to them. If growing tomatoes in pots is your only alternative, then I'd go ahead and try anyway, because the rewards can be so great. Good luck.
And, frankly, putzing around on my lush little overgrown deck is one of my greatest pleasures, so setting up an irrigation system, which is probably beyond my ability to do easily, would also make me obsolete!
IF YOU'RE HAPPY AND YOU KNOW IT SLAP YOUR FRIENDS.
Posted 04 June 2002 - 06:48 PM
Well, the friend who told me is a Master Gardener who wins all kinds of prizes, so I am just assuming that he knows of what he speaks.
Jaymes, that's very interesting about the root temperature. I never knew that.
He had brought me some tomatoes several summers back, and I said that mine had stopped setting. He told me the thing about the roots, and said that one easy solution was to mulch heavily and water very deeply, so that the roots sink down low where they are less likely to absorb the heat of the day. And that's what I'd do if I had a regular garden where I could plant the tomatoes in the ground.
Of course, on my hot little sunny deck, in my containers, that was not possible. That's when I came up with the "cooler" idea. I've done it for several years now, and it works great!
IF YOU'RE HAPPY AND YOU KNOW IT SLAP YOUR FRIENDS.
Posted 10 June 2002 - 05:59 AM