No Turning Back Now
he first real harvest of tomatoes before the floodgates open. It’s surprising how quickly the tomatoes go from something you anticipate to something you dread checking on. I’m for sure not to dreading them yet, but as fast as fall creeps up on us, I know that day will be here soon For now we’re enjoying that first scent of roasting vine ripened tomatoes!
We gleaned 23# off the Bellstar row, too much to eat up, and not enough to make sauce with yet. So these are going in the oven with some what-have-you, bolted basil, puny onions, bell pepper, a sprig of oregano and some olive oil and balsamic vinegar. It never matters how it looks, it always tastes good, and it’s a good cook-with-what-you have kind of “recipe.”
Since I am not ready to get out all the sauce making paraphernalia yet, I’ll just can these as roasted tomatoes. Quick and easy.
On a tomato gardening note, the Bellstar row I picked is between the trellised indeterminate tomatoes and the staked peppers. Growing a determinate sauce tomato really fits in with my harvesting and labor schedule. It produces quickly and then is done, and by the time I need to get to those trellised long season tomatoes, I can pull the Bellstar determinates and have lots of room to navigate for harvesting the later tomatoes and the peppers.
This year I tried the SMR mulch again with the indeterminate row only, the Bellstar tomatoes are growing on a straw mulch to keep them off the soil and clean. When comparing the red plastic mulch to the straw in greenhouse, the only benefit I see to the red mulch is a little bit of weed suppression, since they are on four-foot centers which leaves some open row until the plants fill in. That’s a plus, and the tomatoes may be ripening a week earlier than previous years. I also planted earlier, so that may account for the earlier ripening date. If you asked me today, I would say I probably would not purchase any more of the red mulch, for the cost and pain of installing it, there isn’t much benefit. Straw may be more helpful, and easier to get and utilize for soil building, but the slugs under that have been a nightmare. The snakes are under the red mulch for warmth, and the slugs are under the straw for coolness and protection. I can’t win
I think the canning season has begun!