Sunday, June 21, 2009

Li'l Green Tomatoes

Our thirty-seven tomato plants are all doing very well. Most are covered in blossoms and many actually have tomatoes. I planted so many because almost every seed I planted came up. I couldn't bring myself to toss the extra seedlings and I planted them all in the garden. So, of course, I thought I'd share. Photos, that is.

These may be plum tomatoes.

I have no idea which plants are of which variety. I took no special care to label them. I do know what there should be, however. As the fruit grows and ripens, things should be come a little more clear.

For example, there are cherry tomatoes, beefsteaks, super beefsteaks, fourth of July, yellow tomatoes from our friend Harriett, plum tomatoes, tomatillos, prudens purple, stupice, black cherry, ace 55, and rutgers, among them. We are hoping for a good crop this year for sauce and freezing.

Grow guys, grow!

I'm pruning them based on the method described by French food and garden maven Jean-Pierre Coffe. He says that, in addition to constantly pinching out the suckers, one should pinch out the top of the plant once it's got three sets of blossoms. Also, you should allow the two lower-most suckers to develop, but pinch out their growth once they've each got two sets of blossoms.

By doing this, the plant diverts its energy into the fruit rather than into growing more stem, leaves, and setting additional blossoms. So this is what I'm attempting to do. It's amazing how the suckers appear nearly every day. It's almost as if you can sit and watch them grow.

Cherry tomatoes? Only time will tell.

Of course I will update you as the garden progresses. And, as promised, we'll do another video garden tour very soon. Happy digging!


  1. Happy half birthday, happy harvesting and happy summer! The Garrouges gates are pretty amazing. I don't know if you have posted about it but I would guess it is close to you? The color of the stones remind me a bit of Collonges la Rouge in the Southwest.

  2. You're such a young pup... I'm only TWO days from being 50 (on the 23rd), and you're MONTHS from it ;)

    This tomato stuff is very exciting! I saw a TV spot (on "America's Test Kitchens") where they were doing a tomato & mozzarella and basil salad... but, because the tomatoes were not as flavorful as quality home-grown ones are, they let them sit (cut up) for about 40 minutes, with a pinch of salt AND a pinch of SUGAR! I have never thought of using sugar to make tomatoes taste better. By sitting, the juices really pulled out, and, since the goal was to use those flavorful juices for the sauce, the tomatoes were dumped into a salad spinner and spun to separate the juices and pulp from the solid sections. The juices were poured through a strainer into a saucepan, and heated with a bit of balsamic vinegar -- reduced a bit. That, apparently, made a great, flavorful sauce for the mozzarella cubes, fresh basil, and tomatoes.

    The description is here.

    Enjoy those plants!

    Are you going along on any of these jaunts with Ken and CHM, or staying home to tend to Callie, meals, and house?


  3. They always tell Walt (and Callie) "We'll be back in a few minutes, guard the house". He hasn't caught on yet...

  4. As someone pointed out to me the other day, removing the leaves like that also means the plant is not sitting in its own little humid, blight friendly microclimate, but has plenty of air circulating. If you don't prune like this you risk getting blight in France I am told.

  5. Happy half birthday Walt. I wonder if you are going to have half a piece of Steak au Poivre! Funny, my partner and I are exactly your ages...I've recently had my 50th and my partner was 60 earlier in the year. Lovelt tomatoes!

  6. Nothing better than fresh tomatoes how lucky you are to have so many...Barb

  7. I am really jealous of the cherries you have, and now tomatoes. We do have blooms though. We did harvest our first cabbage tonight. After it was trimmed, it weighted 2 pounds 1 ounce.

  8. nadege, Carrouges is up in Normandy, several hours from where we live.

    judy, happy birthday! That tomato idea sounds good - I'll have to try it on the next batch of store-bought tomatoes. And I usually stay home with the dog. See John's comment :)

    john, you forgot the part about "we're going to the store..."

    susan, I believe you are right about that.

    veronica, thanks! No half steak au poivre, but we did have half a beef roast!

    barb, we're keeping our fingers crossed for a good harvest.

    harriett, I've never tried to grow cabbage (heads). Maybe we'll try that next year!


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