I've never had much of a green thumb, but boy do I love home grown tomatoes. So this year I decided to put forth a little effort, and see if I couldn't successfully grown some tasty tomatoes. I did some research, and learned that tomatoes need lots of things to thrive, including calcium and magnesium. Egg shells have lots of calcium in them, so I saved my easter egg shells, and crushed them up. Epsom salt is actually magnesium (and not sodium), so I sprinkled crushed egg shells and magnesium in the holes where I gently planted six little tomato plants. I had also worked some good natural fertilizer into the soil. Meaning, alpaca poop. Soil needs to be replenished of all sorts of good stuff, and I didn't want to plant a garden in depleted soil. I waited until mid June, until the threat of late frost had passed.
Just six weeks after I planted tiny little plants only a few inches tall, I had these big, beautiful plants. Lots of blossoms, and lots of promise of tasty tomatoes. Although by then it was July, and well, we just don't live in the South where they get ripe tomatoes by the 4th of July.
But by late July, I was finally seeing some color.
August was wonderful. All of my work finally paid off. I had so many wonderful, yummy tomatoes. Yellow pear, red pear, San Marzano, Tall Vine Rose, and the not-so-early Early Girls (and a few strawberries).
But then with September comes the threat of frost here in Idaho. And I still had sooo many green tomatoes waiting to ripen! I considered picking them and bringing them inside and laying them in my pantry or basement. But I read that vine ripened tomatoes have the best flavor. And the small green ones will continue to grow, even with cooler temperatures.
So we picked up some PCV, and made a little greenhouse. Bryan really did most of the work.
The tomatoes were happy, and kept right on growing.
I had wonderful, amazing tomatoes in late September. It was glorious. I ate them with everything. And sometimes with nothing more than a little sea salt. I oven-dried some, packing them in olive oil, and later putting them on sandwiches or pizza. I made delectable sauces, and consumed them over buttered angel hair pasta. They were heavenly.
Then finally, when the weather was predicted to drop regularly into the 20s, I figured it was time to bring the plants inside before they met their demise. Again I considered just picking the green fruit and bringing it inside, but if best flavor come from the vine, then on the vine they shall stay. So Bryan helped me dig them up, and we carefully carried them into the basement, and rigged this tomato holding contraption: a 6-foot ladder, two mops and an old shovel handle. It still wasn't tall enough to keep the plants off the ground.
Update: Then I found out I was pregnant, and the morning sickness kicked in. I couldn't stand the thought of most foods, so the tomatoes were left to ripen. Bryan would pick some occasionally, and use them on sandwiches. I had my mom pick the last of the ripe tomatoes the day before Thanksgiving. They were a little shriveled, and not the best for eating fresh, but they worked great in chili. I was so pleased that all of my hard work provided fresh tomatoes at the end of November. I never would have guessed.
So there you have the saga of my tomatoes. Maybe my thumb is a little green after all.