Tomato Teardown

Gardening season is drawing to a close. I finished tearing down my tomato plants yesterday. Well, all of them except the volunteers: I still have five or six potted plants, plus the sideways one or two growing in the ground by the raised bed, and the one growing by the compost pile. But none of those count since I didn’t plant them; they volunteered to grow where some of last year’s tomatoes had fallen. They’re all in my back yard, so they are a low priority for cleanup.

I finished cleaning up the tomato plants at my MGS (Midway Green Spirit Community Garden) plot last Thursday. I think I had eight plants there: two heirlooms and six hybrids. A lot of them ended up growing across the ground because I didn’t have the equipment to support my giant plants. That plot is maybe half cleaned up now. I still have some pepper plants to cut down before it snows. And the seed pods on my broccoli are probably ready to come inside to dry. My other brassicas have mostly fizzled out due to damage from slugs.

My Edmund Ave. plot is almost empty now. Just two kale plants are left there. I cut down the basil and pulled up the green beans a couple weeks ago. I froze more than a pint of pesto. Yesterday, Elysa and I tore down what remained of our six giant heirloom tomato plants. The Blondkopfchen was a particularly impressive plant. Planted in the center of a ten-foot row, its branches had reached both ends of the row and started to loop back in. We got at least a few thousand sweet yellow cherry tomatoes from that plant. I think I want to give next year’s Blondkopfchen plant the full 10′ x 10′ plot and see what kind of magic we can work together.

I stopped weighing this year’s tomato harvests after I hit about 65 pounds. I’m nearly certain we got more than 100 pounds total. We froze some. We canned some. We shared some. We ate some fresh. We made tomato sauce, tomato paste, tomato salsa, tomato jelly, tomato ketchup. Now it’s time to start thinking about how I can use my time this winter to prepare for next year’s bounty.