Friday, September 30, 2016

One last gasp of Tomatoes

Finally the Fall weather has arrived.  Last week it was still in the 90s but this week we are back to a normal 70s during the days with 40s and 50s at night.  I had to finally give in and turn on the furnace.  There was a short time for windows to be open at night but now it's too cold and I'm into the sweat clothes for night time sleeping wear.  It's been a funny year for weather and the last week's hot weather gave the tomatoes one last flush before starting to dry up.
As you can see the tomatoes grew up and out of the towers that I built last March.  These were Early Girl tomatoes.  No fertilizer was used and after the dry spell in June no watering was done.  They have produced a huge amount of tomatoes from just seven plants.
 A few days after this harvest about half this amount again was harvested.  I decided to make some tomato soup for Winter dining.
The tomatoes were basically just quartered and cooked down.  The only other ingredients were onions, celery, flour, sugar, and butter.  The recipe is on my blog site under Homestead Recipes.  But for your convenience here's the link.  I cooked them down for about 20 minutes.  Then I drained the liquid into another similar sized pot.  The Nutribullet was used to blend up the soft solids into a puree.  The other ingredients were added and whisked together before putting into canning jars and waterbath sealing for about 30 minutes.
The net result was four quarts of tomato soup and one partial quart for right away consumption.  The procedure from start to finish was about two hours.  Yeah, four quarts doesn't sound like much but I'm the only one that will be eating tomato soup.  No one else likes it.  Tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwich makes for a great lunch in my opinion.

I like the cooler weather to preserve the harvest.  The middle of August for canning is just too hot in the kitchen for me so I'm glad to have enough tomatoes for another batch of tomato soup.  Eight quarts should last me the whole Winter.

I've been thinking about the basement gardening again for this winter.  I have some changes which will be in another post but it should give me more space to grow young tender plants for salads.  I'm not sure what exactly to plant yet but it will come soon enough.  Last year I started in December.  It was such a great success, I couldn't eat it all.  But for now the Fall garden cleanup is top priority.  I have to drain down all my water tanks.  The rains provided most of the moisture for the garden this year so irrigation wasn't needed.  

The biggest success, of course, was defeating the raccoons and keeping them out of the sweet corn.  But now they invaded the pumpkin patch and punched a hole in the side of half the pumpkins.  Nothing but the shell was left of those pumpkins.  Apparently they didn't really like the watermelons but the vine borers did.  Gardening is not for the faint of heart.

That's all for now.  Catch up with you later.  Just waiting for the Mother Earth News Fair in Kansas at the end of the month.


  1. Your tomatoes did incredibly well, they must really love your towers. And your tomato soup looks incredible, we always eat our tomato soup with grilled cheese as well. I never actually thought to make and can our own soup.

  2. Go Old Dave! Glad the raccoons did not eat our pumpkins. Bug was our biggest problem. Kevin had to spray them. Without it the plant would have gotten eaten up before producing. This is the first year for mini pumpkins. I like that size for in the house. Audrey

  3. That tomato soup is going to be so good with those home grown tomatoes. You have really made a lot of progress this year in your gardens. Time to clean up for winter and plan for next year!!

  4. Glad to see your tomatoes did well Dave. Ours did very well for a while, then petered out suddenly. There are still a handful of green ones on the vines so I haven't started cleaning up the garden yet, but I'm already missing my tomato sandwiches. :)