Here come the tomatoes!


As cucumber season keeps ragin’ on, the tomatoes are beginning to blush red in the garden. That means one thing: long, sweaty nights in the kitchen are right around the corner, as we try to keep up with the canning.

We picked six and a half pounds today, our first real harvest–mostly Romas. According to my notes from past years, that would make about three quarts. Not a bad number for a little tomato-canning warmup session. Soon enough we’ll be pulling in 20 pounds at a time and rocking out 10 quarts, no small project.

That’s if we’re lucky. We’re having a bit of a problem with blight (just on the Romas; our heirloom bed, 30 feet away, is so far unaffected). It’s causing the lower leaves on the plants to turn yellow, then brown, and it’s definitely traveling up the vines.

We’ll try fertilizing and see if that helps, but what we really should have done was mulch, a month or more ago. Blight is a fungus that comes from the soil and we’re told it can be kept away with a protective layer on the ground.

The heirlooms, though, look pretty as a picture. We’ve got a towering Sungold plant that’s been making candy-sweet, bright orange fruit for several weeks now.

We also have a Purple Cherokee, a Green Zebra and a German Striper, all varieties we’ve grown before, and a new one: Large Red, an heirloom from Southern Exposure that was very commonly grown before the Civil War.

Blighted though we may be, so far we’ve seen nary a hornworm. Praise be to the tomato gods.

Anyone else canning ‘maters yet? How do you fight off the fungus?