Garden Diary 8/18/11

After a terrible end of July with a week in the 100s, bookended by weeks in the high 90s, it has been tough for gardening. I considered myself lucky to get out and water daily. Weeding came to a complete halt, although the weeds themselves did not (because I kept obliging by watering them!)

The cherry tomatoes thrived in the heat.

One thing that did just fine with all this heat was my cherry tomato plants. You remember back a few months that I did not plant any cherry tomatoes–these are all volunteers and have been for about 4 or 5 years now.  I allowed 3 plants to stay put in the bean patch and the bowl above is what we are picking daily now.

If you peek through the bean leaves you can see some ripening tomatoes.

What you can’t see in the picture is how the cherry tomato plants have actually grown across the sidewalk and are into the grass on the other side.

Now how are these plants so hardy when the rest of my tomatoes are struggling so? I wrote here about an organic solution to a serious fungus problem I had this year. The solution (milk, water, baking soda, dish washing liquid) helped the plants that had only begun to show signs of the fungus, but was not good enough to save those fully involved.

So I have only harvested maybe a dozen regular tomatoes this year. But the cheerful cherries keep chugging along, producing by the handful, with no sign of slowing!

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10 Responses to Garden Diary 8/18/11

  1. Glory Lennon says:

    One year I had so many cherry tomatoes I canned enough sauce for the entire year. That was only half of them though. The rest I had to freeze. Organically grown tomatoes all winter long and into the spring… YUM!

    • Dan says:

      Glory, when making sauce don’t they make a sweet sauce? I’ve just been reading a ton of stuff on the internet about canning cherry tomatoes and much of what I read was very discouraging. Cherry tomatoes as Julie points out are a great perennial fruit and as you point out when they are established give up lots of little gems. Oh, the biggest factor about making sauce with them is that it is not worth the effort since there is a low yield of pulp once the skin and seeds are removed?

  2. “cheerful cherries” – love the visual!

  3. Cylly says:

    My sweet 100s are ready to start harvesting now, too. And some of my re-seeded tomatoes (cherries or grape) are growing mostly horizontally onto my lawn like yours. They look like creeping squash vines. My plan is to halve the harvested cherry tomatoes and mix with mozzarella balls and fresh basil for a dinner salad. But of course I forgot to get that accompanying stuff when I stopped at the store today. Oops! I guess the ‘maters will survive on the vine another day …
    Glory, how did you freeze your tomatoes? Just throw them in a bag? With oil? Blanche them first?

  4. Julie Helms says:

    Cylyn, Sounds like a fantastic salad idea. What do you dress them with? I’m thinking a Balsamic Vinegrette sounds good.
    Glory, freezing how-tos please!

    • Cylly says:

      Yes a balsamic would be good. Sometimes I add black olives and marinated artichoke hearts and/or marinated mushrooms (juices and all) and grilled chicken to make a complete meal. Oh and roasted red peppers. Or whatever else I have on hand! It’s very flexible. Tomato slices and basil and mozz slices are great on burgers too.

  5. Glory Lennon says:

    Okay, here’s where I say I don’t do things as others tell me to. I was told, as Dan said, that cherry tomatoes make a poor sauce. Maybe if you’re particularly picky, but I’m not. I make the sauce and leave the seeds and skin on…Oh, horror! My sauce may not have been good enough for some connoisseurs of fine dining but it was great for my non-picky bunch. For pizza, tacos, even to top spaghetti, it was great. Not as thick as the commercial kind, but free of preservatives and corn syrup!

    As for freezing, two ways you can do that. Make the sauce first and freeze it that way either in ziplock bags or plastic containers. Glass containers make me nervous in the freezer as they can break if you don’t leave enough room for expansion. In a pinch I just tossed fresh tomatoes into a freezer bag for use in making future sauces or just to toss a few into stews, beans, rice dishes or soup. I guess planting ten cherry tomato plants was a bit much, but I didn’t let them go to waste! 🙂

  6. Glory Lennon says:

    Oh, I forgot to mention. You can always sun dry tomatoes, or in the oven. No, not as good as fresh but better than letting them go to waste.

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