Posted by Holly on Sunday, August 30, 2015 comments ( 0 )
As mentioned in a previous post earlier this year, we are using cattle panels as tomato trellises. I am happy to report they have done a phenomenal job at supporting the tomatoes, providing adequate airflow, and making weeding a quick chore with the weed wacker. Our rows are seven feet wide which sounds kind of ridiculous, but this distance has really kept the plants from getting tangled together, and we can walk down the rows without brushing leaves and releasing blight spores. The tomatoes are showing some blight, but it is very minimal this year despite being a wet year.
This year we also used old t-shirts as tie-backs for the tomato stems. The t-shirts work well in the tomato patch because they don't cut into the stems like twine and rope do.
Labels: cattle panel
Posted by Holly on Sunday, August 23, 2015 comments ( 2 )
Tomatoes are finally making a presence in the garden and kitchen. We are thrilled to have thriving plants this year after last year's blight. Our first priority is tomato paste because we use a half-pint for every batch of homemade pizza and we eat a lot of pizza. Altogether this summer we have canned 32 half-pints of paste.
We are growing 15 different varieties of heirloom tomatoes this year. The different color combinations and size differences make for a colorful presentation, don't you think?
We discovered years ago that we don't need to remove skins from our tomatoes when canning. This saves a lot of time when processing a large batch. We are using the cast iron pot we used when boiling maple syrup the first time. It works really well for cooking down large batches of tomatoes for paste and even gives the sauce a smoky flavor which tastes great.
An immersion blender gives the paste a smoothe consistency and is the best kitchen gadget ever.
One teaspoon of lemon juice is added to each jar of paste before processing.
In our super duper large 41 quart canner we fit all 32 half-pints in one load. Water bath for 45 minutes.