As the tomato season winds down...

Yes, it's that sad, dismal time of year once again. The time where night time temperatures start to drop into the 60s (and even lower), signalling the beginning of the end.

And for me, it's time to give the tomato plants a hair cut.

While the tomato plants are all still flowering, there is no way those flowers will have time to develop into tomatoes. So, I went in and cut out a lot of dead/dying leaves, growing shoots with flowers, and any tomatoes too small to grow and ripen. Even though our first frost is (hopefully) a ways away, the cooler temperatures mean the small fruits simply won't grow, and I'd rather have the plants spend their remaining energy on ripening the existing, larger fruits.

The pile of trimmings. Lots of dead leaves- Septoria leaf blight was an issue this year.
Trimmed plant. Some almost ripe tomatoes, and a few green ones that will hopefully still grow and ripen.
Oh, and do NOT wear your good clothes when working in the tomato patch. Because, the plants are covered in...
... shiny, happy, glistening little trichomes (microscopic hairs) on the tomato plants that result in...

... this. Green gunk, aka Tomato Tar.
This stuff will NOT come off with just soap and water, and WILL stain your nice white hand towels. Ask me how I know. Rubbing alcohol to the rescue: before you wet your hands, rub some rubbing alcohol on them. Then soap and water can do their trick.

So, how did this season go? Not bad, not bad at all. I tried a couple of cherry tomatoes in pots, and was not happy with the results - I only got a handful of tomatoes off of each plant. Of course, I do have a tomato thief in my midst...

"That wasn't a tomato seed in my beard, honest!"
Yeah. When your dog comes in with tomato seeds all around her mouth, that might just be the reason you aren't getting as many tomatoes as you thing you should.

"I'm the good dog!" Yes, but you are SCRUFFY!
But even with the dastardly thieving, the plants in the pots were no where near as large as their counterparts in the garden. So next year, no tomatoes in pots. Except maybe one...

Prolific monster - Aunt Ruby's German Green cherry tomato
I grew a green tomato this year: Aunt Ruby's German Green cherry tomato. It farking took over the ENTIRE bed! And talk about prolific! The only problem (in addition to being the tomato that ate New York) was that it's, well, green. And thus, it's hard to tell when it's ripe - especially in my typically over-grown tomato bed. But since I REALLY liked the taste of it, I'm thinking that growing it in a pot next year will solve two problems: it wouldn't be quite as monstrous, and it would be easier to keep an eye on the fruits and pick them when ripe.

For other varieties - well, I don't know. I'll have one and a half beds for tomatoes next year (the other half is devoted to sweet peppers), and I give each plant 4 square feet, so that means 18 plants (no, that is NOT too many for one person - and one thieving dog). 10-12 of those will be pastes - and no, I still don't have a favourite paste tomato. The Federle this year had nice fruit, but inconsistent sizes, and it wasn't that productive. I grew Amish paste last year, which was really productive, but it had tiny fruit - a pain in the arse to peel for canning. And I'd like a determinate variety for paste tomatoes - it's easier to have a few big canning days, rather than have dribs and drabs of tomatoes coming in over time, in my opinion.

I still want indeterminate varieties for eating tomatoes, though - and Stupice will be back. I can't argue with a variety that gives me tomatoes that early! Other than that, I don't know.


Taste is SO individual. For example, I think I'm the only person who liked the German Green. And while I found the yellow cherry okay (at best), my neighbour RAVED about them. I'm tempted to toss some money at my local tomato genius, and ask her to send me a selection of tomatoes that taste like tomatoes :)

But still, life is good. Even though the tomato season is winding down, I picked over three baskets today (those are 3L baskets, if anyone is wondering - and a bushel is around 35 L). I'll have one more big canning session, and get some crushed tomatoes done, and maybe another batch of sauce. And there are still tomatoes in the garden, soaking up the last of the summer sun. And maybe, just maybe, I'll get two full months of fresh tomato eating this year.

A garden tomato, every day, from July 12 to September 12? Not bad at all!

Sauce, salad, sandwich - the best of the summer, all in one fruit!

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