Posts Tagged ‘tomatoes’

It’s been a rough summer for the vegetable garden. Spring started out very cold and very wet, and so we were late getting the garden rototilled. I say “we,” but t! is the one who wrestles the rototiller around the garden for two days so that I can plant. The cold-loving veggies (onions, peas, string beans, and greens such as spinach and bok-choi) went in in the middle of May, the potatoes at the end of May, and the things that need more heat (tomatoes, cucumbers, dry beans, and squashes) went in at the beginning of June.

Through June, everything looked pretty good, chugging along slowly but surely the way a garden should. Then July and the heat wave hit. Temperatures up to 35°C and the only rain was the very occasional short, sharp thunder shower. I started watering the tomatoes, zucchini, and cucumbers by hand with a bucket (next year there will be some sort of irrigation system in place). The only things that didn’t seem to mind the dry and the heat were the soup beans (Great Northern and Black Turtle) and the basil.


But the first bunch of tomatoes to set fruit had blossom-end rot, which in tomatoes is caused by a lack of calcium to the flower, which in turn is almost always (and in my case certainly) caused by a lack of enough water for the plant to get the calcium in the soil up to the flowers when they need it.

Blossom End Rot (Sorry for the slightly fuzzy photo!)

So I stepped up the watering as best I could, and that seems to have solved it. I have tomatoes, but the crop is probably going to be small. It’s late in the summer, and not enough fruit has set. Small is the word for most of the crop this year. Onions, small. Potatoes, small. Cucumbers, small (and few). Bell peppers. Sigh. I have 15 bell pepper plants (red bell peppers are t!’s favourite vegetable) and 1 pepper so far.

Small Potatoes

As I’ve learned to say from my neighbours with a philosophical sigh, “That’s farming…”

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Here’s the latest shot of the seed rack, considerably more full than last time!


Bottom shelf, left side:

  • the grape vines I bought at Eco Farm Day, two of which are sprouting very nicely, and I have hopes for the third
  • a small pot of sage from seeds that I saved from the sage plant in the backyard at Hamilton, just starting to come up
  • a pot of hot peppers, no signs of life there yet
  • Bottom shelf, right side:

  • Brussels sprouts, just starting to come up
  • Carlton tomatoes (an early salad/slicing tomato), sprouting nicely
  • sweet bell peppers, not up yet – I’m starting to worry a little about the peppers, but if the tomatoes are warm enough the sprout, the peppers should be too, I hope
  • Isis candy tomatoes (cherry type, for fun and snacking as I garden), sprouting nicely
  • Middle shelf, left side:

  • parsley, coming along well
  • Middle shelf, right side:

  • leeks, coming along well
  • Top shelf, left side:

  • Amish paste tomatoes, sprouting nicely – lots and lots of them, for next winter’s canning
  • amish_paste

    Top shelf, right side:

  • Brandywine tomatoes, sprouting nicely – from seed that I saved last year, because you can’t have a homestead garden without Brandywines!

    I’ll be starting the seeds in the melon and squash families (including cucumbers, zucchini, and ) next week sometime.

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    This weekend’s harvest included 25lbs of paste tomatoes that I bought at the Vankleek Hill Farmer’s Market, and 20lbs of wild apples that Fearsclave and I gathered from a wide variety of trees in his back 40.

    I spent most of yesterday processing the tomatoes into 16 jars of crushed tomatoes/tomato sauce:





    [This wonderful machine is a European Tomato Press that I bought from Lee Valley Tools. It not only crushes the tomatoes to a very fine consistency, but spits the peels and seeds out the other end while doing so.]



    Health and work schedule permitting, I’ll be turning the wild apples into apple jelly on Thursday or Friday.

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