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Tomato Clock

September 16, 2014
Gluten-free tomato picking

Gluten-free tomato picking

So many tomatoes, so little time.  It’s tomatoes round the clock.  So I called in reinforcements, and they brought beer, and we picked.

Pantano Romanesco

Pantano Romanesco

Evening in the greenhouse is better with friends.

New Girl F1 tomato juice

New Girl F1 tomato juice

Juice yesterday, and soup today.  The end is in sight.  Soon there will no tomatoes morning, noon and night.

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20 Comments leave one →
  1. September 16, 2014 9:42 am

    How many tomato plants do you have in your greenhouse? Do you have any outside as well?

    • September 16, 2014 9:58 am

      Too many this year…but it takes about 35 to make all the tomato products we use in a season. I planted more on closer spacing, and I am not liking it at all. It’s amazing how little the yield is after you start cooking them down. I’m socking away lots of juice this year. None outside, it’s too cold at night to get them to reliably ripen.

  2. Lisa permalink
    September 16, 2014 10:05 am

    Tomatoes. Yes, we have a glut also. I am doing what I can by running them through the food mill and cooking down the pulp and juice by a third, and freezing. Will make juice, and start slow roasting the Astianas and San Marzanos for the freezer today. Need to pick the rest of the ripe tomatoes before the rain hits and they split. Of course we just have 50 plants, lots of heirlooms, some that are lower yield.

    Where did you get your recipe for canned tomato soup? Can you process it in a water bath, or do you have to pressure cook it?

    • September 16, 2014 10:27 am

      Lisa, I need to get more prunes picked before the rain, but luckily the tomatoes are inside and are safe.

      As for the soup,I used to make the tomato soup in the Ball Blue Book, but out of desperation one time I took my roasted tomato puree (with herbs and alliums of course) and didn’t cook it down, I canned it runny instead. That’s the soup, best flavor ever. I do pressure can just because it’s faster for me, and uses less water, and I am adding some low acid ingredients.

  3. September 16, 2014 11:03 am

    I am surprised our tomatoes have lasted so long and we may even not have a huge number of green ones – that will be a first. I took the precaution of taking off all the leaves when the temperatures dipped and it seems to have paid off, or we have just been lucky, not sure which. Thanks to your tips we haven’t watered since early August either and so that has saved hubby’s time. I usually just reduce the tomatoes down, either using the oven or just the slow cooker. Failing that and in dire emergencies, frozen whole to deal with later 🙂

    Most of our plums are in now, but we seem to be falling over with apples. Got given a crate and a half today too. Hope those animals appreciate them.

  4. September 16, 2014 11:48 am

    Ever since discovering brined green tomatoes, I actually hope for plenty of green ones at season’s end. They take up too much fridge space — no canning, to preserve the nice texture — but they are delicious in sandwiches. Do need to put up more sauce first, though. But there are 20 pounds of ripe tomatoes on the table that I have no time to deal with, so the plan is to weigh them, chop them and freeze them for roasting into sauce when I locate said time.

  5. Craig permalink
    September 16, 2014 12:58 pm

    So I’m curious how the Florida weave compared to how you normally trellis your plants. I tried both ways this year, weave and clips, and saw less production from the plants I used the weave on.

    • September 16, 2014 1:57 pm

      Craig, I hated it! Partly my fault and partly the style. What I missed the most was the ability to go around each plant to pick like the trellis system I had been using.
      What I did wrong was:
      1) planting too close, using a couple rampant ID’s (well-behaved ID’s were fine)
      2) Not keeping up with the trellising. Again a couple varieties were fine, growthy plants were a PITA..

      What I liked:
      1) The way it looked.
      2) Ease of installation, and a way to use posts I had, and recycled baling twine.
      3) My cow fencing bracing method worked great here too, I didn’t have to have a post jutting out at a 45 to hold up the rows.

      My take is meh, I did it to save work, and realized that I didn’t save any work, I just spaced out the same amount work differently. It was/is hard for me to pick the tomatoes going down a long row, my back and hips are killing me because it is awkward for me. Maybe if I was younger and not so boogered up already this wouldn’t be a problem. Mixing varieties in the same row is working against me in that I want to keep the varieties separate for cooking, and so I pick four plants, and then have to go down to the end and all the way back to those plants on the other side just to finish, you either need a lot of boxes or you need to do a lot of carrying. I hate moving something I don’t have to. I realize on a farm with long rows the weave makes sense, but on a small holding it’s not working for me.

      I should have put in the time when it was cool and strung my trellis but that was what I was trying to avoid. But you never know until you try, but I doubt I will do it that way next year. I did do both and the production seemed the same.

      • Karen permalink
        September 17, 2014 6:36 am

        This was helpful. Experimented once with the F. weave and never did it again. This summer I planted over 40 tomato plants and it was the pruning and keeping them tied up that was time consuming. Lots of tomatoes though. I ate so many I ended up at the dentist. Too much acidity. Apparently I wasn’t his first patient with the problem because he knew right away what was wrong. 🙂 I’m getting old too Matron.
        What is ID’s?

        • September 17, 2014 7:02 am

          Karen, I can certainly see where it would work well, but since I’m locked into greenhouse tomato growing (if I want ripe tomatoes) I think the clip and twine system works the best for me. Ouch on the teeth 😦

          Lazy typist…indeterminate 🙂

  6. September 16, 2014 2:04 pm

    My mom used to make green tomato mincemeat in the fall. I have no idea what else she put in it. We all liked it, she also made tomato preserves that was very sweet. She tried to use everything we had, you know farmers are like that. That juice is beautiful. We just started our plants for our fall garden here in Florida.

  7. September 16, 2014 6:52 pm

    Haha… “tomato’clock.” I love it! Also your oodles of tomatoes look amazing!

  8. Lisa S permalink
    September 17, 2014 9:17 am

    I’ve only recently discovered your blog, and I’m loving it. So much useful information. You amaze me with all that you do.
    I have a question about canning lids. Do you have a favorite brand? I ask because my local housewares store sells 348 metal no-name lids for $52.00. They come in a paper sleeve. I’m tempted to try them.

    • September 17, 2014 9:54 am

      Lisa, thank you for reading 🙂 I usually use Kerr or Ball just because they are handy to purchase. Sometimes by the case, or by the sleeve for the other brands like you’ve found. That’s about the same price as sale price around here. I don’t think it makes any difference in the brand really.

      • Lisa S permalink
        September 17, 2014 10:19 am

        Thank you! With all the canning you do, I value your opinion.

  9. Bee permalink
    September 17, 2014 9:33 am

    Nita, I’m gathering from the comments that you stop watering your tomatoes? Could you expand on that a bit? Does it make them ripen faster? I’d be hesitant in my climate because I think they’d just up and die, but I’m always willing to try something new.

    • September 17, 2014 10:03 am

      Bee, I stop watering the tomatoes the first week of August, I also top them at that time and don’t let them set any more fruit as it won’t ripen by the first of October. Once we start getting cold nights the tomatoes just don’t taste as good. Trust me they won’t die especially from the heat or dryness, since mine are in a greenhouse and it’s much hotter and drier in there than outside in the garden. The sugars seem to concentrate once you quit watering, and the flavor improves quite a bit. So my tomatoes are on their 7th week without water and they look pretty good I think. It will weed out the verticulum wilt prone varieties for you because they will look like $**t. Bee, I wondering if my greenhouse would be similar to your zone? Mine are oriented north/south for summer growing so they aren’t as unbearable as an east/west axis hoophouse but that space is a place we avoid in the summer except morning and evening…too darn hot for me but the solanums love it. My girlfriend killed her tomatoes this summer with her E/W hoophouse, and they are watered all the time. She just boiled them I think. Her husband was here yesterday scientizing our roll-ups sides.

  10. Bee permalink
    September 17, 2014 12:03 pm

    We’re zone 7B. We get down to about 16 degrees in a really cold winter, but summer temps are typically high 90s into the triple digits, with nighttime temps in the 60s. It’s not unusual to have a killing frost the end of April. We also have quite a bit of wind year round. I’ll have to try your system with a few plants next year when I have the big garden in full production and see how it works. thanks!

  11. September 19, 2014 8:02 am

    Let me get this straight. You called for reinforcements and they actually showed up? AND they brought beer?!?! Come on. That’s a bit of a stretch.

    • September 19, 2014 8:24 am

      Well, I did have to fix dinner afterwards, and they usually show up with something good, you don’t want to know how much trouble the four of us can get into.

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