Kitchen Garden

Tomatoes on Everything!

Slicers, plum, paste, cherry and grape tomatoes.

The 2019 tomato harvest has begun.

We have fresh tomatoes with every meal, for snacks, and with everything.

We aren’t sick of them yet and work to preserve some of them is imminent. There’s a lot going on in the kitchen garden this August.

Sweet corn is in. Our local farm has had a spotty year, yet we’ve been able to freeze enough two-cup bags to make it until next year. Last night for dinner we had corn on the cob with sliced tomatoes — a classic summer combination.

First up in tomato preservation is to make a dozen pints of diced. This, combined with a backlog from previous years is enough to run the kitchen. I’ll also make as much tomato sauce as I can. Last year I froze it and that worked well. The freezer is filling up already so I may have to can some of it this year. Last year I froze small tomatoes whole and used them during the year to make sauce. I may try canning them whole to supplement the diced.

Yesterday I picked about two bushels of the first apples. A lot more wait on the trees. Our early apple is sweet and makes a great base for apple cider vinegar. I make a couple of gallons each year and the jars to do so are empty and just need cleaning. Our cupboard remains full of apple butter and apple sauce, so maybe a few jars of each is all I’ll make this year. They are good for out of hand eating as well. I’ll need to find a home for some of them or leave them to wildlife.

I froze enough kale for the year early in the season. What I harvest the rest of the year will be to give away or eat fresh. There is enough vegetable broth for the year, frozen jars of pesto, frozen okra, frozen celery, grated and frozen zucchini,  and the hot peppers are beginning to come in. It’s been a good year so far.

The garden didn’t produce green beans. The plants look healthy and there have been flowers. Almost no beans have been produced.

The variety of red beans planted needs to climb and I thought they were bush beans. There are bean pods forming, so there will be some harvest. Next year they need a fence to climb on, if I plant them again. I planted beans mostly to fix nitrogen in the soil.

It seems like there can never be enough beets. I started some in trays and those fared much better than the ones sown in the ground. Will do more of that next year. For now I have one jar of pickled beets to last the year.

The tomato and apple harvest signal the garden’s impending end. There’s a lot of work to be done, but we enjoy the taste of fresh tomatoes as much as anything we grow.