It was another busy week in the garden as more onions came to harvest, the weeds seemed to accelerate their invasion of the garden, yet more seeds were planted and the tomatoes got some TLC a week prior to our annual “Tomato Lovers’ Dinner”.
“Red Zeppelin” Onions Ready for Prime Time
The gardening week started with another onion harvest. I pulled the “Red Zeppelin” onions, set them out to dry and then cleaned them up so they could join the Walla Walla onions in our kitchen pantry. I love red onions; in salsa, in salads and cooked dishes like roasted beets and red onions with balsamic vinegar. For some reason, this year’s harvest has been fantastic. Most of the onions are in the 3″ diameter range with very few small ones. I will end up giving away two thirds of the harvest because my wife is not a fan. That’s OK. I can make a lot of people happy.
Planting More of My Wife’s Favorite Radish – French Breakfast/Radish d’Auvignon
I can’t believe how fast we burn through each planting of French Breakfast radishes. Yes, they are mild, but they seem to evaporate in the fridge. We are quite fond of slicing them thin and putting them on top of a piece of baguette slathered with Kerry Gold butter. Works for breakfast, works as an hors d’oeuvre with wine or cocktails, works as a snack with a beer.
I planted two rows, 8″ inches apart. I planted the seeds 2″ apart in the rows. In about 25 days we will begin to harvest.
This Time of Year, the Tomato Plants Need Love
With one week to go before our annual ”Tomato Lovers’ Dinner” I have been spending a lot of time watering, fertilizing, pruning and spraying fungicide on the tomato plants. This year, I will be offering eight varieties of heirloom tomatoes during the tomato tasting portion of the dinner. The dinner itself will feature marinara sauce made with our own plum tomatoes. The salad will feature yet another tomato; Matt’s Wild Cherry. All together, we are talking about 40 plants. I know what your thinking, Greg’s a little crazy. OK, you might be right. I’ve actually started thinking that it might be time to dial it back little.
That said, this week I found evidence of early blight on at least six of my tomato plants. I sprayed OXIDATE fungicide using a curative concentration (1 oz. to a gallon of water). Hopefully, that will slow down the disease long enough for me to harvest the ripe fruit I will need.
Despite the Blight, Tomato Season is Upon Us
This week we have enjoyed the following tomato varieties:
Matt’s wild Cherry
Roma II Plum
Processing Plum Tomatoes
I picked some plum tomatoes every day last week. By week’s end we had enough fruit to process. We use two different methods of processing. The first one involves setting up a line consisting of a boiling pot of water, an ice bath, a cooling bin, a cutting board, a discard bucket and a clean bowl for the finished product which is either diced tomatoes or tomato halves. We the put the tomatoes in plastic bags, vacuum seal and freeze them.
The tomatoes are placed in boiling water for one minute and then removed and placed in the ice bath to make removing the skins easier. One of us man’s this station.
After seeding I will either dice the tomatoes or leave them in halves for freezing.
It took Catherine and I approximately and hour to process our first batch of plum tomatoes, including vacuum bagging and clean up. We froze 5 pounds of diced and 3 pounds of tomato halves. Next time, we will use method number 2; roasting tomatoes in the oven for 30 minutes, cooling and then running them through a food mill. The end product is puree.
Here’s wishing you all a great harvest and good times sharing with friends and family.
All the best,