Saturday, September 13, 2008

Heirloom Tomatoes Are Ripening at Last: 2008 Garden Update #9

Mr. Stripey TomatoI was shocked to realize it's been five weeks since I've given an update on my garden, and finally I have some heirloom tomatoes. This is a variety called Mr. Stripey, and it's one I ended up with after some of my early tomato plants froze. It's not my favorite tomato for flavor, but I do like the looks of the striped flesh mixed with red tomatoes. I was excited to finally get these, because all my tomatoes have been slow to ripen this year. However, if the tomatoes have been a bit slow, the rest of the garden with the raised beds is producing like crazy.

I loved having tomatillos in the garden, but you have to plant two plants and there are so many tomatillos. I'm giving them away and even put a few in the freezer.

Note to self: One row of Red Russian Kale would be more than enough for next year. I just can't use it up quickly enough.

I'm loving the white eggplants, which seem a bit sweeter than regular purple eggplants to me. I've been making Spicy Grilled Eggplant, a dish I loved last summer when I learned to like eggplant.

I usually cook spaghetti squash as a summer squash, picking them when they're small and the skin is still thin. This one got away from me though, so I'll probably bake it and eat it with parmesan and herbs. That stringy herb on the right side of the photo is summer savory, which I haven't used at all. Anyone have ideas for using it?

I've got a huge number of Very Big Squash on the vine, and have already given away a few. This variety of Butternut Squash is officially my favorite winter squash.

All the herbs are doing well, but especially the basil. It's a good thing I know how to freeze fresh basil, because I've already trimmed these plants three times and need to do it again. The frozen basil is wonderful for Basil Vinaigrette or to use in soup or pasta sauce in the winter.

This didn't turn out to be the greatest photo with the sun shining in the window a bit too much, but I wanted to show one recent picking from the garden. In the photo is Red Russian Kale, Swiss Chard, French Tarragon that's going in the freezer, lots of cucumbers, tomatoes, yellow summer squash, a Very Big Squash, a Black Beauty eggplant and a huge pile of tomatillos.

I had good intentions of planting a few fall crops, but didn't get it done. If you have a garden, how have your crops been doing this year?

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More to Chew On:


  1. Wow! What an impressive haul!

    I've harvested quite a few tomatoes, but still have tons more still green. I'm hoping the frost holds off a while yet.

    And man, tomatillos sure are prolific, aren't they? Do you just toss them in the freezer whole?

  2. Kitt I did read that you can freeze the tomatillos whole. I cut them in half and then each half in quarters. I did notice a lot of liquid condensed inside the plastic bag and made frost, so I might try the next batch just whole. I think the frozen ones will be great in soup this winter.

  3. Wow - your garden is lovely! The scorching heat and drought in Georgia (and my working too much) contributed to killing most of my herbs off, but I still managed to enjoy cucumbers and tomatoes.

    Have you thought about preserving tomatillo salsa? It might be a good way to use a good number of them and enjoy them in winter, too.

  4. Based on my own experience with an unknown variety of yellow heirloom, I agree that the flavor and texture aren't great, even though the color is striking. (My mom's tomatoes, BTW, were very slow, too.)

    Savory can be hung upside down to dry, then crumbled into powder. It is very strong, particularly when dried, pairing well with root vegetables and game.

  5. that is SO exciting, thanks for sharing! most of my tomatoes checked out for the season with some sort of fungus. But you have an amazing pile there!
    I planted some kale and arugala for the fall, and it's too early to have a sense of how they're doing.

  6. Wow! I am always amazed at the wonderful produce form your garden! You could open your own market stall with that lot!

  7. HaleySuzanne, I'm not really a canner, but I think I can make salsa from the frozen tomatillos if I want it.

    Susan have to dry some savory. I hate to just waste it.

    Cherylharris, good for you getting those fall crops planted. I should have done it, especially spinach and arugula, but I think it's too late now.

    Helen, instead I just give it away to my neighbors!

  8. Kalyn - you can freeze both red and green salsa. I put into processor and pulse to leave a little texture and freeze in half or whole cup portions in freezer bags. Lay flat, pile up and freeze. It keeps almost a fresh taste unlike canned tomatoes.

  9. Alice, thanks for that info. Now I'm getting interested. Some tomatillo salsa in the freezer sounds like a good thing.

  10. Congrats on the successful gardening. It's so much fun to grow your own food. I grow some of mine and get the remainder at the farmer's market.

    MMM tomatillos, I'm thinking about growing those next year.

  11. I love everything in your garden. You always do a great job gardening.


  12. It's been a really slow summer in my neck of the woods. I'm not sure if there's enough sunlight left in the season for all of my tomatoes to ripen.
    Beautiful bounty, girlie!

  13. Just came across your blog through another. Your garden is beautiful! I wish I could grow things, but I was cursed with a black thumb. I will just continue to live through great gardeners like yourself. i have a great recipe I've been wanting to try that includes tomatillos, they are so expensive. Wish I could garden!

  14. Summer savory is excellent with white asparagus.

    You an boil your own but if it comes out of a bottle or can - cooled white asparagus with extra virgin olive oil, fleur de sel or any good quality salt, pepper and summer savory can taste very pleasant. :)

  15. Kalyn - would the tomatillos be a good candidate for growing in a big pot? That's how I grow hot peppers, and I was wondering if next year I should try some tomatillos, because I love them!

  16. Susy, the tomatillos were very easy to grow. Just be sure to plant two of them together.

    Paz, thanks. Wish I could send you some stuff.

    Cookiecrumb, I'm feeling that way here too. Very odd summer.

    Amanda, sun is the main requirement for growing veggies. If you have enough sun, you should be able to do it.

    Muraski, that does sound good. Thanks for the tip.

    Pam you would need to have two pots right by each other. It's a pretty big plant compared to peppers, but you could prune them. Might work, but I'd read up on it a little.

  17. Kalyn, all I can say is, "Is it soup yet?" What time is dinner? I'll gas up the car and start driving. :-)

    Why do you need two tomatillo plants? I hadn't heard that before.


  18. You must have the magic touch for growing! Gorgeous!

  19. Am SO JEALOUS of your garden. and what a great harvest. I just finished reading Barbara Kiingsolver's book Animal Vegetable, Miracle, and have been wishing I could plant a kitchen garden. But this eyar, even my herb garden has gone into neglect. Oh well, there is always next year...

  20. Michael, here is Wikipedia on tomatillos which seems pretty emphatic on having two plants. Dinner is about 6:00!

    Tanna, I think it's the compost enriched topsoil! Pricey but worth it.

    TBTAM, you're jeallous of the garden, I'm jealous you live in NYC.

  21. Wow, I am completely green with envy. Fantastic garden Kalyn.

  22. Summer savory is great dried to use on roasts or chicken marinades during the winter. In the summer, I love to marinate chicken in lime juice with bruised summer savory leaves and then grill. Very tasty.

  23. Kalyn, you have an enviable garden. Such a large harvest, all in one picking! How are you going to eat it all? That there is several entries' worth of WHB and GYO posts!

  24. Oh Kalyn, what an impressive harvest!! I finally have ONE butternut squash on the vine and I'm praying the little guy gets a chance to grow and ripen before we lose all hope of sun...

  25. When my husband and I moved into a house with a small yard (in San Diego), we were so excited to start gardening, but everything we planted (basil, tomatoes, yellow squash, zucchini) died. The dirt is very hard and rocky, but we tried to remove as many rocks as possible, aerated it as best we could, bought some earth worms, and let them do their work for a week before we started planting. What did we do wrong?

  26. Marcella, I don't know anything about gardening in that type of climate. I would recommend seeking help from a local garden center.

    In my own garden, I have raised beds and bought (fairly expensive) compost enriched topsoil to get them started this year. Utah has a dry, hot climate which is great for vegetables.

  27. Hi Kalyn,

    Your garden looks amazing! You've done such a great job, I'm totally impressed! I have Mr. Stripeys in my garden also and I recently managed to beat the rabbits and squirrels to a few ripe ones...


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