“I love heirloom tomatoes” everyone said. We were worried we wouldn’t have enough tomatoes to meet the need! So, like everything we’ve done before, we went overboard to be sure we had plenty of product to sell. We planted three 50 foot rows of 7 different varieties.
One of our neighbors was admiring the tomatoes as they were growing and told me about his friend who did small space indoor hydroponic tomatoes. He said she had incredible yields by pruning off excess leaves and focusing on keeping the central lead stalk without allowing it to branch out or become bushy. With the tight quarters it also kept good airflow to prevent disease. We decided to try the technique and as you can see we had a lot more tomatoes growing than ever before!
The tomatoes became so heavy on the stalks the tomato twine couldn’t hold them up anymore. We had to add additional stakes and more ties and started to pull the tomatoes once, sometimes twice a day.
When the first freeze was announced we pulled all the tomatoes off the vine and stored the ripe ones in the cold room. The partially red tomatoes were set out on tables covered with paper to minimize moisture. The green ones were refrigerated and used to make fried green tomatoes.
The final step with our excess tomatoes was to try our hand at canning. We made 45 jars of canned tomatoes and 27 jars of tomato sauce. There is nothing better than making Italian food from canned heirloom tomatoes straight from the garden.
We’ve already decided to grow fewer tomatoes of our favorite varieties for next year.