I haven't started any of my seeds inside yet. Up here it's the first of June before we dare transplant seedlings into the garden. And even then we sometimes get stomped on with a surprise late frost. So other than perhaps tomatoes and peppers, in our house nothing gets started under lights until the first of April. Otherwise, the plants just get too leggy.
No tomatoes (except cherry tomatoes that I'm always lucky enough to get bunches of without too much trouble) for me this year. Before last summer, I hadn't planted any full-sized tomatoes for several years. But the past couple of growing seasons had been a little warmer so once again, I was lured into thinking that with a little extra effort, maybe I could get those round, red devils to ripen for me. Last year I did lots of experimenting in the garden (with LOTS of tomato plants) with the thought of trying my darndest to get a bunch of full-sized tomatoes to harvest. I use a lot of stewed tomatoes in soups and casseroles and really wanted to can our year's supply. Remember how I did? Dismal failure. In our climate, you truly do need a greenhouse to be assured of having tomatoes ripen on the vine. Wonder why I can't get that through my head? (Hope springs eternal, as they say!)
Peppers grow on a small enough "bush" for me to protect them with a cold frame type affair over one of my 4' x 8' garden beds so even if the started plants are just eight weeks old when I put them out, they end the season giving us lots of red and green fruits.
Thank heavens I'm not the only one who hasn't started seeds yet... with snowdrifts, financial stress and the plumbing debacle, I've just been too depressed! Hopefully I'll get some things going later this week.
I love experimenting with tomatoes, too. I've had the best luck with "Glacier" for a beefsteak-type that will reliably ripen in Maine. The Russian heirlooms (Black Krim & Cosmonaut Volkov) also do well, as does Green Zebra.
This year I'm planning to try dehydrating some of my cherry tomatoes. I tried another farmer's dehydrated sungolds that were like tangy little candies!
Hi, MaineCelt - I always have more cherry tomatoes than I can use or give away but never thought of dehydrating them . . . duh! I'm assuming one would cut them in half first??
Thanks for passing on the full-sized tomato varieties.
Exactly. Cut them in half, then dry them. Our summers are too moisture-laden to do any sun-drying here, but I know a lady who makes amazing "sun-dried" tomatoes by drying them to the slightly-moist-and-chewy stage in a dehydrater, then putting them in mason jars, pouring olive oil over them, sealing them up and storing them in the root cellar. She always uses them on the fancy salads she brings to potlucks, and everyone raves about them. (I did try this method once myself, on a small scale, but I don't have a root cellar & got nervous about safe storage, so I just kept a couple jars in the back of the fridge.
Dehyrating some cherry toms is definitely on my list of things to try this summer. Thanks so much for the suggestion!
I'd like to try the olive oil method, too, but will most likely just do a jar to keep in the back of the refrig like you did. Can't imagine doing a bunch of jars and filling with olive oil . . . wouldn't that be prohibitively expensive?
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