June 24, 2015

Too Many Tomatoes?

One of the advantages of a long growing season is being able to direct sow things that others must start in pots and transplant later. Such has been the case with tomatoes, and this year was no exception. I planted tomato seeds in the garden toward the end of April. It was a new variety for me, Homestead. I've always favored paste tomatoes because I make so much pizza sauce. Unfortunately I seem to have more trouble with disease with the paste tomato plants, particularly Amish Paste, our favorite. Homestead is a determinate, heirloom tomato. The advertising promise said it doesn't need staking. 'Nuff said.

Then came May with no rain. This is worrisome for a couple of reasons. One is that seedlings with their fragile root systems will be quick to succumb to the dry soil. It leaves me debating how to use the rainwater collected in our tanks - on unsprouted seeds or on growing plants? If I leave the seeds to wait for the rain, I worry that birds may find and devour the seeds in the meantime.

The tomato rows looked pretty bare in early June.

The arrival of June finally brought rain, and everything took off. Every day I was out in the garden looking for tomato seedlings, only to be disappointed that there were none. I finally decided that the seed was either bad, or had otherwise been lost, so I went to the feed store to buy plants. Being late in the tomato planting season I got a bargain - two for the price of one. I bought two 6-packs of seedlings, got two free, and ended up with 24 new plants. They wouldn't be home started but at least I'd have tomatoes.

I decided to plant them in the rows I'd previously prepared for tomatoes. I set about removing grass, morning glories, and a few other unwanteds when what did I find?

Tomatoes at last.

Yup, tomato seedlings. Finally, they were making their debut.

I cleared out everything but the marigolds (they can stay) to give them some room and planted my store-boughts in the next set of rows.

Little tomato plants with larger volunteer marigolds.
All of this put me a month behind on my tomatoes.

Now it looks like I should have plenty of tomatoes, which is okay because there are a lot of things to do with tomatoes. Pizza sauce is my priority, followed by tomato soup, and green tomato slices for frying come winter. After that it's plain canned tomatoes for soups and stews. Too many tomatoes? Never. Wouldn't you agree?

Too Many Tomatoes? © June 2015 by Leigh

43 comments:

Michelle said...

Agreed – but rare here, with our typically cool coastal nights. But the way this year's weather is heating up, it may be a bumper year for tomatoes!

Dawn McHugh said...

I had a similar thing with courgettes (zucchini) the first lot didnt germinate I re-sowed and again failure re sowed the third tie and the first two lots started to germinate now over run with plants, I have increased the amount of tomatos this year and have my first ripening :-)

Frugal in Derbyshire said...

No such thing as too many tomatoes! We are having trouble with whitefly this year for the first time ever. I always plant marigolds and basil alongside the tomatoes and it has always worked before.

Dani said...

You can never have too many tomatoes. If there was only one plant that I could grow, tomatoes it would be :)

Gill - That British Woman said...

I only have the one plant a patio plant and it's not doing that great?

Audra Russell said...

Can you share your recipe for tomato sauce? I am canning tomatoes this year. I also have Amish Paste growing and so far they look great! And you are right...you can NEVER have too many tomatoes!

Frank and Fern said...

If you decide you really and truly have too many tomatoes, your chickens and pigs will love them! Strange year we are having. We have cabbage and broccoli producing in hot late June weather after all of the record breaking rain in May.

Fern

kymber said...

i agree with everyone above - NO such thing as too many tomatoes! i planted 46 seeds and 46 came up. but then something crazy happened - volunteer tomatoes kept popping up everywhere in other plants in the greenhouse!!! i have about 20+ additional tomatoe plants!!! which hopefully means we'll have a glut of them this harvest - woohoo! NO such thing as too many tomatoes!

your friend,
kymber

Jayne M said...

Absolutely no such thing as too many tomatoes! One year I am planning to have enough to can to last through the winter, but still waiting for that to happen.

Fiona said...

Have you tried Jerusalem? This is one of our very favorite all around tomatoes, not an official paste variety but really meaty. It is an old variety, an ox heart shape and it has been very disease resistant so far. I used them for sandwiches and they are awesome in sauce and dry well too. As to too many tomatoes...no such thing. Reading this also made me laugh....you would never need to use buckets!

Woolly Bits said...

no, I agree, too many tomatoes is like having too many strawberries - impossible:) esp. in our climate! not only do I have to start them inside, I have to keep them inside all along! which means I could never have too many, because there's just not enough covered up space for that! so I try to grow just for eating fresh, because the difference in taste is so much stronger with fresh ones. I can get canned tomatoes in the shops, but eating warm fresh tomatoes from the plant - that makes all the difference I find!
happy eating - if all your plants carry toms:)

Farmer Barb said...

I started some ancient seeds (5 years old) for Ropreco Paste and they TOOK!! There are three plants but they are miles behind the ones I bought from a lady in town who has a greenhouse. It is one of our universal vegetables, so I grow many kinds. There is seldom a day without a tomato product in our home!

Melanie said...

'Too many tomatoes' is a misnomer!

I have to start in pots, but I always plant more than I need and then give the seedlings to neighbors and family. No one ever complains about free tomato plants. I make pasta sauce, salsa, and just bottle the rest crushed. I echo the request for you to post your pizza sauce recipe!

Rosalyn said...

If I had to choose one thing to live on for the rest of my life, it would be tomatoes--so no, you can never have too many! When you plant them directly in the soil, do their stems grow nice and strong? Do you need to shore them up with soil as they grow?

Florida Farm Girl said...

Sounds good to me. I've never made pizza sauce but step daughter makes it and its delicious. Tomato basil soup? Love it.

Sandy said...

Leigh,

I could never have too many tomatoes. We use a lot of them to make homemade spaghetti sauce, salsa, stewed tomatoes, tomato powder, and pizza sauce. I also just love while working in the garden pulling a tomato off and eating it as if it were an apple. Yes, I'm a tomato person.....can't get enough of them!!

Kirsty Udall said...

Growing tomatoes outside from seed, what a dream! Looking great Leigh and like you said there's never too many.

Renee Nefe said...

I totally agree. I've got 6 plants now and noticed some flowers yesterday on the Amish paste. YAY! I got two other kinds of sauce tomatoes as well. I don't mind using them for everything. This year I will try to make pizza sauce as we've been eating a lot of pizza with the bread maker. :D Hubby built some lovely shelves for the basement that I can use to store my canned foods once I get them all ready. Hopefully we'll get a nice cool day for me to make up some bone broths and get the freezer ready for veggies instead of bones...yeah I know I should have made it when it was cold out, but well I was lazy. ;)

Lynda D said...

There can never be too many tomatoes, can there? I picked the last of my green ones a few weeks ago and pulled down the last vine, which still had flowers on it. Those green ones are ripening all on their own in my kitchen and so as we approach the end of June. i am now in my 8th month of home grown tomatoes (with no greenhouse). Yeah!!!!! I am expecting a gazillion freebies in a few months as i left so many to just go into the soil.

Ed said...

Three years ago we had a bumper harvest of tomatoes and canned and preserved until we were out of jars. That has kept us going and I thought we would have enough to get us buy until this year's crop but we ended running out a couple months back. I can't believe it has happened so we have gone overboard with our plantings this year and I hope to spend a lot of time canning tomatoes this year too.

Leigh said...

That would be one small benefit from the heat!

Leigh said...

Oh dear, and zucchini can certainly produce! But how lovely to have that first tomato ripening!

Leigh said...

Gill, sorry to hear about the whitefly. Things like that can be so frustrating.

Leigh said...

Ooo, that would be a tough thing to choose! So glad we don't have to. :)

Leigh said...

Even one plant is a delight! I hope it rallies for you.

Leigh said...

Audra, hello and welcome! I thought I had my tomato sauce recipe in a post, but apparently I only mention it. I will definitely get on it and get out a post!

Leigh said...

Fern, oh yes, the chickens and pigs love tomatoes! (The pigs love everything except, it appears they aren't too keen on onions. :) Very strange weather, too hot! But thankfully we're looking forward to a cool down this weekend. Whew.

Leigh said...

Kymber, that's fantastic! We're going to crown you the tomato queen, LOL. I especially love volunteers. Funny how they seem to know the best time of year to sprout and grow.

Leigh said...

Jayne, I always aim to have enough for the year and then hope for more! When that doesn't happen, I have to ration. But at least they're our own!

Leigh said...

No I haven't! Recommendations are always welcome so thank you for that, especially the disease resistant varieties. :)

Leigh said...

I would be so sad to not have a good tomato growing climate, and agree that even just for fresh eating is a great goal!

Leigh said...

That's fantastic about the seeds! Do you save seeds from your many kinds of tomatoes?

Audra Russell said...

I just saw your post on my blog and replied to it there. But just incase you didn't get back to it I wanted to thank you for your kind words. You inspire ME! I read your blog all the time, this is just the first time I have ever commented on a post! I do hope you write down a tomato sauce recipe...I would love to have it!

Audra Russell said...

Yay! :-)

Erika Keller said...

Yup, you can never have too many tomatoes. Occasionally we get volunteer sun gold's to grow from seed in the garden and actually set fruit. If I could stand the summer heat I would move farther south just for the gardening.

Cozy Thyme Cottage said...

Hi Leigh, Lucky you to have so many tomato plants. We have to start them indoors here or buy seedlings. No tomatoes yet but hoping! I like to make tomato juice. Nancy

Harry Flashman said...

I love cold tomatoes, sliced up and then I put some Parmesan cheese and some garlic on them. So good! I have a friend who gives me produce from her garden. The tomatoes are so sweet and plump. Not hard and part green and with wax on them like the store sells. This same friend recently gave me two boxes of Makarov ammo she had , now that's my kind of woman. I told her if we were Mormon's I'd marry her too, since she has no husband. ;-)

Kev Alviti said...

Never have too many! I'd say I get through around 15tins a month easily. To be honest I'd really struggle to be self sufficient in them.

Leigh said...

Great idea to give them away! And I'll pull together a pizza sauce post soon. :)

Leigh said...

Rosalyn, they do quite well when directly sown. The only thing I do is mulch well when they get big enough. The ones that do the best are the volunteers. They seem to be strongest.

Leigh said...

Tomato and basil were made for each other!

Leigh said...

Sandy, I really need to try tomato powder from my peels. Usually I give them to the chickens, but tomato powder sounds great!

Leigh said...

Kirsty, it's one of the fortunate things about living as far south as I do. On the other hand, most summers it gets way to hot, even for tomatoes!