Gardening For Health

Time for Tomatoes 

Tomatoes are just starting to ripen in my garden. There are so many varieties that it’s hard to decide which ones to grow. The cherry and grape tomatoes tend to ripen before the larger ones take off. I always start my tomatoes from seed so that I have a variety of types, maybe 40 is different types are a bit much but there are so many to choose from and all have different colors and shapes. 

My tomato beds are covered with landscape fabric with slits cut in for the plants and finished with a small propane torch so that the edges don’t unravel. The landscape fabric is woven and allows water to penetrate but does not allow weeds to grow. Keeping weeds out of your garden will help you be more successful with your vegetables.  

I separate my tomatoes by determinate and indeterminate types. The determinate types grow up to a certain point and stop, so they are best grown in a tomato cage. These varieties are good for when you want to preserve the fruit and have them ripen at the same time so you can get it all done at once.  

The indeterminate types keep growing and growing all season long. For a continuous harvest throughout the summer, grow these in long trailing vines. I like to use cut pieces of cattle fencing with roughly 5-inch squares, supported on either end of the bed with metal fence posts. We weave the metal fence posts through the squares of fencing for strong support. As the tomatoes grow, I weave the vines carefully through the squares. This keeps the vine off the ground and gives the sun access to all sides of the plant to help ripen the fruit. If the plant extends too far beyond your fencing, you can cut off the top of the main stem or let it drape down. 

After harvesting, slice fresh tomatoes and cover them with fresh mozzarella slices. Crush two cloves of garlic, chop some fresh basil and sprinkle on top, followed by a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Make this salad ahead of time to give the flavors time to marinate.