Posts Tagged ‘tomatoes’

26.5 ounce Cabin Tomato

WOW!  I have never grown such big fruits from this variety before!  If you just joined this web site, let me fill you in.  I have been saving seeds from “Cabin” tomatoes and regrowing them for the last few years.  The plants seem really disease resistant, and I love the taste!

I have saved one batch of seeds, which was about the amount that covered a small dinner plate.  Those are in the freezer now, and will be tested for viability soon.

I have a second batch of seeds fermenting in a quart jar right now, and that should provide another few hundred seeds.

I plan to send out up to 50 (give or take) envelopes of seeds for this variety of tomato to folks willing to send in a picture of their efforts to grow it in 2013, and who will try to save seeds for the next season.

Some have already sent me their addresses (thank you!), and I hope to collect a few more.

Large Cabin Tomatoes this Year + Saving Seeds Round 1

14 ounce Cabin tomato

15 ounce Cabin tomato

I have been seeing some Cabin tomatoes that are much larger than the last 3 years.  I guess when they get full sun they produce at a better size!

Seed Saving Round 1 - 2012 Cabin Tomatoes

Seed Saving Round 1 - 2012 Cabin Tomatoes

I saved seeds from these two tomatoes. They are fermenting in this jar on my counter. Soon I’ll clean them and dry them.

Only 4 of the 8 people who said that they wanted to grow Cabin tomatoes next year have sent me their mailing address.  If you are interesting in growing Cabin and you didn’t reply to my e-mail last week, please comment here.

 

Ripe Tomatoes mean 2012 Salsa…soon

My first 6 pounds of ripe tomatoes.  They’re an ugly bunch, due to the weather, but they’ll taste fine when I make them into salsa!

I didn’t even see the squash bug in person. I only noticed him in iPhoto.  This is a Cabin plant.  I’ll be saving a whole bunch of seeds soon.

Green Tomato Size

Look how big my green tomatoes are getting!  These are still from the first flush on the Giant Syrian plant.  Too bad only 1 out of 25 flowers are turning into green tomatoes now.  They don’t like to set fruit when the weather is this hot.

Soon these will be ripe and I’ll be able to can up some salsa!

Green Cabin Tomatoes Mid-June 2012

Above is the flower from an open-pollinated heirloom variety of tomato that I have grown every year since 2009.  “Cabin” was the name on the list I chose from at Wintersown.org.  This tomato was listed as RARE on their listing that year and has been absent from the list ever since.  It’s by-far my favorite tomato and it’s a personal project to continue this fruit, as I could be literally the only person growing it anywhere right now.

Cabin tomato has shown itself to be resistant to the blights that my tomatoes end up getting eventually during most growing seasons.  Where my other plants have already died in August or September, Cabin has continued to grow until first frost around Halloween.  Cabin provided me with a red tomato (picked green) on Thanksgiving one year.  That’s pretty good for Illinois.

The green tomatoes shown in this post should ripen to a nice dark pink tone within 2 weeks.  They are usually 3 to 8 ounces, with the average more towards 4 ounces.

Many of my Cabin tomato flowers were multi-blossoms this year, so I might get a couple of fused fruit that are larger than normal.  As you probably saw from the photos, Cabin is a potato-leaf type tomato.  Oh, taste!  Cabin is excellent eating.  It’s meaty, average in acidity and works equally well for eating raw or cooking into sauces.

Finally, I don’t want to be the only grower saving seeds for this tomato.  If you are interested in also growing Cabin next year, and will save seeds from it to keep this heirloom around for the future, please let me know.  If you have trouble with blights and want a plant that will grow along while others struggle in the same spot, please consider Cabin.

First Week of June Tomato Update

Image

The tomatoes are growing fast and will have to be tied up soon.  There are many flowers on them–this plant has about 40 or 50 right now–and as those green fruit grow larger their weight will make the plant top-heavy.  I let my craft son S. have all my extra garden twine, so I’ll have to go out and buy some more.

The Tomatoes are putting on size

Giant Syrian Tomato, May 2012

Big Boy Tomato, May 2012

The tomatoes are starting to grow well for me in their new boxes.  As you might be able to see I have planted each one with two basil friends to keep it company, and nature has planted several annoying wanna-be friends in there too.

The wire tomato cages are only there to steady the plant long enough for it to grow strong outdoors.  I expect these tomatoes will end up 8 feet tall, up and over the roof by August.

The boards are warping a bit, so I think I’ll have to hit them with some sand paper on a nice dry day to even things up again.

Moving tomatoes

2 x 2 foot raised garden bed

My tomatoes have been getting blight (I believe it’s septoria leaf spot) earlier and earlier each year.  I decided that I need to move them completely out of my main garden area this year.

I built these four 2 foot by 2 foot raised “bed” boxes up by my back porch.  They’ll get great sun and they’ll be in new dirt that shouldn’t already be innoculated with whatever blights my other soil is carrying.

The tomatoes will grow up these uprights and shade our picnic table. I’ll just tie them up as they grow.  Tomatoes need at least 4 square feet when placed next to each other in a raised bed garden.  But since these will have lots of airspace all around them, I’m planning on planting each of these boxes with 1 tomato and 2 basil.

Spring Garden Planning – on Paper – 2011

When I originally built my first set of garden beds in 2008, I had a brilliant idea. Every web site and book I could find was telling me that I wanted my garden beds to be 4 feet wide, for the convenience of reaching the crops easily and the benefit of never having to set foot into my soil. I promptly built each bed 6 feet wide because I knew better and I’ve been kicking myself for my arrogance ever since. I figured that 50% more growing area per bed plus much less wood needed would save me a ton of money by using a 6×8 foot layout. Well, it’s just been a pain in the ass.

This first drawing illustrates this year’s idea to help take advantage of these oddly-wide square foot garden beds. I plan to build a two-foot-wide middle section that has a trellis on each of these beds. I’ll grow climbing crops up the trellis in the middle and use the two-foot section on each side for crops with shorter growth habits.

So with this idea in mind, I got out my handy-dandy graph paper and planned out my 2011 garden. You can click the image to enlarge the photo. Each of the 5 beds I have numbered 2 through 6 will be getting a trellis topper with it’s own double-raised bed section (6 inches higher) beneath.

I have rotated every crop to an area of the garden that it hasn’t been grown for at least a year. Ideally I would use a 4 or 5 year rotation, but that isn’t possible in this amount of space unless I grow less tomatoes.

Because I have 12 growing beds, I plan to have several beds entirely dedicated to single crops, including sweet potatoes, potatoes, beans and tomatoes.

I also have planned some succession sowing with early spring crops, spring crops and fall crops. Carrots will follow the radishes and lettuce, Beets will follow Kale, and the green bean bed will be planted multiple times.

I found a place online where I could download a nice spreadsheet to help me with my seed-sowing dates. I entered my (average) last spring frost date into the spreadsheet, and it adjusted itself to display a range of dates where I should probably start my indoor seeds for best success in my garden. I moved these recommendations to the calendar on my computer and printed out a copy for easy reference. I have two trays of seeds started so far. Pictures coming at a later date!

The boys have been big helpers with the seed starting. They get a little bit of cabin fever when they are snowed in.

Barbecue Sauce – Canning a Condiment

I had been looking for a good barbecue sauce recipe for a long time. This sauce is pretty good. I wanted a tomato-based sauce that I could make from my own garden and for the most part I found it. I did end up using one canned ingredient, because I had used up half the can two months ago and the rest was in my freezer…chipotle peppers in adobo sauce.

I wanted my sauce to be very sweet and reasonably spicy. As I was cooking the recipe I found in the Ball Blue Book (1987 edition) I could taste that it wasn’t going to be NEARLY as sweet as I wanted, so in addition to the 1/2 cup brown sugar I added a heaping half cup of molasses as well. If I were going to make this again tomorrow I would jump right in with 3/4 or more.

Then again, I think if I really wanted this to be sweeter I would have to start with a sauce with less tomatoes in it. The last thing I wanted to do was to put in corn syrup. Yuck!

My biggest concern as I was cooking this was that it was going to be CRAZY spicy. There was a time while I was cooking it that I thought I had ruined it with the chipotles. After processing and opening a jar and having it on some ribs yesterday I was pleasantly surprised at how much the spiciness had settled down.

The usual disclaimer about canning at your own risk applies here. I am 100% sure that this modified recipe is a safe recipe, but I know that I have used acidic tomatoes and quality vinegar, and that all substitutions were done with like-quantities of similarly p.h.’ed items.

Give this a try and let me know what you think.

  • My garden: tomatoes, bell peppers
  • Local: onions, molasses, garlic
  • The store: celery, brown sugar, dry mustard, paprika, salt, peppercorns, vinegar, canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
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