Sunday, August 25, 2013

TOMATOES - the bounty of Summertime

My veg garden, 4 8x8ft raised beds because of horrible heavy clay soil.  Planted up and growing nicely June 16th.  Organic with no pesticides, no sprays.  

Growing vigorously, tomatoes supported with wire cages - June 25th.

Almost needing bamboo sticks as they are growing so tall - July 3rd.  I did not prune back side shoots, but did fertilize with an organic seaweed fertilizer that was watered on to the leaves and flowers, only once last week.  

Starting to ripen, cocktail tomatoes.

Plants are healthy, large with lots of flowers and fruit.  July 25th. I read an article about pollinating tomatoes by "shaking" them, so I tried (when I remembered), to give the plants a gentle shake.  Tomatoes are self-pollinating.  

July 27th, summer growing.  Outside planted up with runner beans and Hydrangeas Annabel (grown from small slips), and lavender on the outside.

Starting to grow some lovely big tomatoes and a few beginning to ripen in the sun.  July 30th.  I planted a lot of butterfly and bee flowering plants around to attract them, to do the pollinating - and because I love them.
Cocktail tomatoes.

Beefsteaks - July 30th.

Some of the bounty - picking of tomatoes, cucumbers and jalapeño chili peppers. August 8th.

Staked with long bamboo stakes as they are outgrowing their wire cages, heavy with fruit.  August 13th.

Basil - outstanding companion plant with tomatoes and great added to tomato sauces - I chop and add once it's done so that the basil is fresh and delicious.

A few ripe, many, many bunches of green cocktail tomatoes. Aug 13th.

More cocktail tomatoes and cucumbers picked August 13th.

Today, August 25th.  I had so many ripe tomatoes, I decided to make some sauce to freeze and add to soups, curries, stews when there aren't any fresh tomatoes.  I chopped up a large bowl of fresh tomatoes, added 2 jalapeños.  I like hot stuff!

A nice big bowl, picked a big bunch of fresh thyme and tossed it in.

Into my Le Creuset cast iron pot, added a 1/2 tsp of Himilayan Pink Sea Salt, a 1/2 tsp of crushed black pepper and a rounded tsp of organic raw Turbinado sugar - you can leave this out but it's a small amount and I always add to tomato dishes to cut the acidity.  

Bring to a boil, simmer on low for about 20 minutes.

Allow to cool, divide into useable portions and freeze.  This would have been absolutely delicious eaten as is, with crusty warm bread to sop up the juices.  You do not have to add the chili.  Use as a base for any dish calling for a fresh tomato sauce.  

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