We are just loving our Yard to Table garden! There is nothing quite like a home-grown juicy, sweet ripe tomato. This year we lucked out and received some beautiful plant starts from a neighbor. We got an interesting variety of plants that allowed us to use for salads, canning, BLT’s and more. Here are the varieties we planted.
- Black Krim – this was our favorite. Such a beefy tomato with incredible flavor and the perfect BLT tomato. You can see it the photo.
- Sun Gold Cherry – loved these for drying, salads and just popping in my mouth while gardening when I run out of steam. Like a sweet little piece of candy.
- Nova – a Roma type and it produces hundreds and perfect for our canning
- Green Zebra – fun for salads
- Jersey Devil
- Caro Rich – this is a pretty orange/yellow
- Black Prince
One thing we learned this year was the difference between determinate and indeterminate tomato varieties. We haven’t had a lot of experience with growing tomatoes because we never had enough sun in our yard until this house.
A determinate has a more compact shape and a smaller size. They grow to a fixed mature size and ripen all their fruit in a short period (usually about two weeks). Once this first flush of fruit has ripened, the plants diminish and there is no new fruit. We thought our plant was dying when this happened. It seemed as if it literally shriveled up and was done for the season.
We planted one determinate plant called a Silvery Fir tree as seen above. It was described as an exceptionally early ripening Russian variety with very unique ferny/ lacey foliage. It was very pretty when we planted it. We probably wouldn’t do this one again as it really didn’t produce all that much.
All the others were indeterminate tomato varieties. They will continue to set and ripen fruit throughout the growing season until frost kills the plants. We prefer them as they give you a slow and steady supply of tomatoes, rather than one large harvest.
Our sunny yard is ideal for the tomatoes and the weather we had this year also was helpful with so many sunny warm days. We have made so many things will all of the tomatoes. Not a day goes by when we don’t have something that includes a tomato.
We made some tomato Paste. We took 6 pounds and it made a cup 1/2 of paste. We just used the smallest amount of olive oil and salt. Check out Paul Bertolli’s Conserva receipe out of his book “Cooking by Hand”. The process is simple: Wash the tomatoes, dry them, chop them, saute them briefly, strain them through the food mill, and dried them a slow oven.
We’ve made fresh salsa and also canned salsa.
We enjoyed homemade Gazpacho, had many salads, and adorned our pizzas with them.
We enjoyed them on avocado toast, dragged our hotdogs through the garden Chicago style with 4 types of tomatoes and roasted them.
We’ve canned and even got to try the dehydration setting on our oven for these beauties.
It will be so nice when winter comes to take out a jar of beautiful tomatoes that we grew and enjoy them.