Monday, August 25, 2014

The August Harvest - Tomatoes, Tomatoes and More Tomatoes

And we're back!  I can't believe it's been so long since I've last posted a blog update.  Between traveling for work, daily house chores, weeding, harvesting, fall planting and preserving, I haven't found much time or motivation to blog.  Summer is flying by and we're trying to soak up as much of it as we can before fall arrives.

August is all about tomatoes in our garden.  I was a bit concerned earlier this summer that our tomato harvest this year wouldn't be as productive as it's been in years past.  For one thing, it usually takes at least a couple of years to really build up the top soil in any newly installed vegetable garden.  Also, the weather has been so mild this summer.  I can only recall a couple of weeks in July when temperatures reached above the upper 80's.  For the longest time, it seemed as though our tomatoes were adamant about staying green.  Slowly, they started to turn in early August, and since then, began to ripen in droves.  Our paste tomatoes (Amish Paste and Speckled Roman) have been ultra productive.  And the flavor of our heirloom tomatoes have been excellent too - very rich, sweet and juicy.  Once you start growing your own tomatoes, it becomes really hard to even stomach a mealy/tasteless supermarket tomato.

Beyond the tomatoes, our cucumber and zucchini plants continue to produce.  I'm very happy with how they've performed this year.  Cucumber beetles and powdery mildew were such big issues in our old garden that our cucurbit plants and harvests were usually finished by late July.  These things are still present in our new garden (I'm down to two zucchini plants), but not nearly as bad.  If we're lucky, we'll still be able to harvest cucumbers and zucchini in September.

Dragon's tongue beans are among my favorite string beans to grow.  Unlike other bush type beans, they continue to produce pods over a long period.

Tomatoes of all colors, shapes and textures.
I love the fluted shape of 'Costoluto Genovese'.
All of the tomatoes in this post were picked during one week's time.  In the past, keeping up with the tomato harvest often felt like an overwhelming chore.  Not so this summer.  We have 29 plants this year, which seems to be the magic number for our needs.  While we try to enjoy eating fresh tomatoes as often as we can....

Most of our tomatoes are used to make sauce.  I try to make and freeze enough tomato sauce to last us all year long.  I think we've met that goal this year and then some.

In any case, there's already a chill in the air at night.  Our friends in Vermont are already seeing leaves changing color.  Something tells me that fall will arrive early this year and that the upcoming winter will be a harsh one.  If this turns out to be the case, it's nice to know that we can still heat up some sauce and enjoy a bit of summer even when it's cold outside.

12 comments:

  1. You have an amazing variety of tomatoes in your garden and a beautiful harvest. Agree with the weather being cool this summer but after last summer's heat, I don't mind. Farmer's Almanac is saying a very cold and snowy winter for the NE this year.

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  2. Love all the gorgeous tomatoes, of course! I thought that Dragon's Tongue was a dried bean (or perhaps a shelling bean) - you can eat the pod?

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    1. Yes! You eat the pods on Dragon's Tongue!

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  3. It is funny that you say you thought July wasn't all that hot. I thought the opposite. I had nine days in the 90s in July. We only had three days in the 70s (barely). We got a lot of rain, but we got a decent amount of heat too. I think you are closer to the ocean than I am and it really affected your temperature compared to me. Though last week I was feeling the arrival of fall, this week we are back summer. We are in the 90s already and probably will be for a couple more days. And your tomatoes are really gorgeous. I loved all the colors.

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    1. It must be the ocean! I do recall that we had a few sweltering days in July accompanied by drought (we missed all of the rain you got) but other than that, our ACs have been off. We haven't turned them on at all this August. And we're only expected to get into the mid 80s tomorrow. I don't mind.

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  4. Absolutely beautiful tomatoes. Twenty-nine plants! I keep cutting down on the number of plants that I grow every year. This year I have only eight and it will probably still be too much, but I do like to have a variety of types and colors. I have huge problems with powdery mildew also, I can only grow resistant varieties of cucumbers and zucchini and peas and anything susceptible. I tried to grow calendula this year and the plants have totally succumbed.

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  5. JEALOUS!!!!!!!!! Your tomatoes are gorgeous! And plentiful!

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  6. I'm with you on homegrown tomatoes. You have such a lovely assortment of them too! I've made lots of sauce too, and it will be so good to have when the fresh ones are long gone.

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  7. Gorgeous tomatoes and wow 29 plants! I only have cherry type tomatoes this year, all the slicer type were dead for one reason or another.

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  8. Those boxes of tomatoes are seriously making me drool. Amazing harvests... I'm slightly jealous.

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  9. Love your Costoluto Genovese tomatoes, so pretty! Most of my plants bite the dust from blight (after looking oh so promising), but i harvested a bunch of "stuffer tomatoes" today. They look like bell peppers but are all tomato. Like the name implies, perfect for stuffing like a stuffed pepper. Yum!

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  10. I still can't get over 29 tomato plants. The most we've grown was maybe 20, last year, and we still have pints and pints of sauce from that. So I scaled back this year. Very beautiful and colorful harvests overall.

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