Every year we learn new things, and this year is no different. We have grown tomatoes in the past, but we have never had a problem with tomato rot. Our garden is not very big, we have very little sun in our yard, as a result we have to plant our crops as close together as possible to save space. That and I also have a problem throwing away seedlings, I plant everything even when I know I will be planting them too close together. In the past, that has just caused me to have a garden that looks like a jungle, this year however, I think that me planting the tomato plants to close together has caused the tomatoes to get tomato rot.
I dont think that I can take all the blame though, we have had a very unusual spring for this area. It was cooler than normal with a lot of rain. I honestly think that it was a combination of the two, no matter the cause now we had tomato rot and we had to figure out a way to save at least some of our crop. I planted a couple different types of tomatoes all with a different purpose. Our sauce tomatoes however, were the ones that were effected the most by the tomato rot, they are also the most expensive to replace if I were to buy them at a farmers market.
Not knowing much about tomato rot, I did a little research and found that moisture and air flow had something to do with it. Even though no one really knows the reason for tomato rot. I decided to try and trim my plants as much as possible to increase air flow at least two feet off the soil. We trimmed off all suckers as well as any limbs that had not started to produce any tomatoes. We made sure all the plants were tied up and supported and clipped any limbs that were rubbing another limb. At first you read that and you think oh, that does not sound like much work at all… well you would be very wrong. It took three adults 2 days to complete this simple task. In the end I think that it was worth every second of effort. We still lost some of or crop, but once we trimmed we noticed a drastic improvement. Was it the act of us trimming or was it the weather warming up and the rain slowing down, I cant answer that, but I am happy to have my sauce tomatoes back and we have continued to produced a close to 10 pounds of tomatoes a week. Not bad for our little plot of land.
This spring started off really slow, but is now really getting going. We are grateful for the warm days, sun and even the rain. I have friends that make hay, they are not liking the rain, but my tomatoes are loving it.
We expanded out garden this year, but did not add a lot of variety. We planted a couple different types of potatoes, tomatoes, beans, squash and melons… that pretty much takes up our whole garden. We do have smaller batches of lettuce, radishes, beets, carrots, cucumbers, strawberries, blueberries, brussel sprouts, and asparagus. We also have some stuff experimenting with in the aquaponics system.
This is a picture of my little girls fort for the summer. We are growing lettuce in the middle till the beans get nice and tall. It is doing really well, my daughter is going to be spending a lot of time in there this summer.
This is one of my variety of tomato plants, san mazanos tomatoes. I was able to tie all of the plants up so that they can get the sun and rain that they need. These plants are really looking good!
I love this upcycle. That is a broken window in the middle. I hung it from the frame of my raised bed and tied my plants up so that they have tons of room to grow. I have flowers and some small cucumber buds. I can not tell you how much I love spring. Those are my tomatoes in the back ground.
We have had a wonderful tomato season. Our tomato plants are 6 feet tall and we are picking tomatoes everyday. In the past we have only grown enough tomatoes for sandwiches and salads, the kids would eat them faster than I could save enough to can them. Today, I finally had enough tomatoes that I needed to can them or they would go bad, we just could not eat them all. I was finally going to make salsa from the tomatoes, peppers, garlic and herbs that I grew on my property. I was so excited. My mother-in-law and I spend the morning processing produce. I did not chop the tomatoes small enough and I chopped the peppers and the onions too small, we ended up with every watery salsa. 9 jars of very watery salsa, I was so disappointed. Finally here I was canning my own produce and I messed it up.
Instead of throwing away all these tomatoes that we worked so hard to grow, we water bathed canned the tomato mixture and I will just use it as a soup base. It will work great in chili, tortilla soup and vegetable soup. I hope that my tomato plants continue to grow and produce more tomatoes so we can get another chance to make salsa. When I create the perfect salsa recipe I will make sure to post it.
Here are some pictures of my amazing tomato plants. A little rabbit poop goes a long way, it certainly helped these plants grow big and strong.