Wednesday, June 21, 2006

I've wanted some tips on growing the perfect tomatoes; found a lot of repetition of the basics, but not really what I was looking for. How to make the sweet and not too juicy? How to ripen them in a region that has night time fog? (Tomatoes ripen when the night time temps are in the 70s and 80s.) Then a trip to a different Farmer's Market on Sunday, yielded a copy of our regional publication from Edible Communities with an article about tomato hybridizer Fred Hemple, his business and blog Baia Nicchia. God smiles on the prepared.

Imagine a post that is almost everything you need to know to grow a good tomato. It's not as easy or as hard it might sound:

if you buy a tomato plant and it produces a bumper crop of tasty tomatoes, there are two reasons – 1) You bought a good variety for your growing situation – a variety capable of producing excellent tomatoes in your area, and 2) You cared for the plant appropriately.
Besides the good advice offered at Baia Nichhia, there are other "tricks" that many use to get a good tomato yield. I still waffle about pinching off sideshoots (should be done on vining indeterminate plants; doesn't need to be done on bushy determinates, I think...). Caging or staking .. again depends on the variety planted. And I've never tried the red ground cover that's supposed to encourage greater tomato production.

While researching, I learned that Australian farmers having dramatically increased their yield over the past 10 years, are now discovering that they've lost the flavor. (hmm. sound familiar?) They hope that increasing the potassium in the soil is the ticket. Some home gardeners on boards were whispering this can done by burying a banana peel at the bottom of each tomato planting hole. I wonder if I can chop up banana peels and simple bury them near the roots?

After you've grown that perfect tomato, Fiona Haynes, low-fat cooking guild at, tells the best way to store them:
You have to treat your tomatoes right to enjoy them at their best. Just
as you shouldn’t choose tomatoes from the refrigerated section at the
store, you shouldn’t refrigerate them at home either. Temperatures
below 55 degrees will destroy the flavor of your tomatoes and make them
If some of your tomatoes need ripening, place them in a paper
bag with a banana or an apple for a day or two. The gases from the
fruit will help ripen them.
Now that I've whetted your appetite for this penultimate summer vegetable, bay area food blogger Sam Breach shared a recipe for new season tomatoes as I was reading about growing them.

photo credit:Seed Savers Exchange

Whatcha Doing Today? Trying to stay cool it's going to be a really warm one. Trying to reorganize my sewing space to make it more efficient.

Reading? Poisonwood Bible and Sudoku puzzles. (is that reading?)

Steps: 11107 yesterday. Taking Jake for 2 walks/day seems to be the ticket. But the sad news? With the increased walking and maintaining my 1500 calories/day... I've gained weight. How does this happen??

What's For Dinner, Deb? Definately something on the grill