the tomato harvest begins

August 4th, 2008

The Tomato Harvest Begins

Our house has two wooden barrel-like buckets in front, one on either side of the end of our front walk.  Last year I tried growing some ecologically-friendly wildflowers in them, and it kind of looked like I was growing weeds.  Which, I sort of was.  So this year I decided I was going to do something different.  In late spring, I bought two young tomato plants for ~$3 each at Aldi.  One was the Roma variety and one was a Beefsteak.   Those buckets have always looked to me like tomato plants belonged in them.  I planted one in each bucket, added extra potting soil, and watered them every non-rainy day.    A few weeks ago I reported on my progress, and said that some of the tomatoes were shiny and about to turn red.

Well, it took them a little longer than I expected from that day, but yesterday I harvested the very first Roma tomatoes.  I picked one and cut it in half, and it looked ripe inside and out, so I picked the other two from that bunch.  And ripe they were, and tasty too!  We had tomato and onion salad as well as some slices just plain.  It was so exciting!

About 4 more tomatoes have turned mostly red and should be ready to pick in the next day or so.  The Roma plant, in total, has approximately 35 tomatoes, the rest still green but bigger by the day.  The Beefsteak is not doing anywhere near as well, but does have 12 green tomatoes of varying sizes right now.

Tomatoes this week at my grocery store were $2.49/lb.  So if I harvest 2.5 lbs of tomatoes, I will more than cover the cost of the original plants, and since the potting soil was left here by the house’s previous owners, that cost me nothing.  I don’t know how much an individual tomato weighs, and I was too impatient to eat these to find out.  But my spouse has a food scale on the way to help him with his ongoing food plan, so I will start using that once it arrives to record my crop.  No more buying tomatoes this summer for us!  And hopefully I’ll have enough for some homemade tomato sauce by the end of the summer.

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10 Responses to “The Tomato Harvest Begins”

  1. I’ve been keeping a sort of running tally of what I harvest in a fairly small garden this summer. I have 5 tomatoe plants, so far I’ve harvested about 90 pounds of tomatoes! I just weigh my basket when I come in from the garden. Anyhow– I wasn’t going to do a veggie garden this year, we rent and I was doing other things.. but my neighbor convinced me. Now I’m looking at what I can plant for fall as we have a long season here in the carolinas. Yup–its worth it, but you do have be diligent in caring for things.

  2. Mary T., 90 pounds! Very impressive. I love going out to the garden and picking some tomatoes, peppers, sweet peas… and having a nice snack. I wrote awhile back on saving money using gardens. In addition to saving some money I eat more healthily than I would otherwise.

  3. Yay!! I am so glad they’re ready for you. They’re so so yummy! Most of ours got eaten by critters while we were away so I have to go pick up a few more starts this week. They ripen lightening fast here in Florida!

  4. That’s awesome! I have about 8 tomato plants and they are just beginning to ripen as well. That’s cool that you could grow them in containers. I’ve never had such luck.

  5. Here in the chilly NW coast of Oregon, it’s been a slow year for growing anything! I was trying to put tomatoes in our local county fair – this week – but ended up only with my orange cherry tomatoes… but at least I have some! The other 3 plants – early girl (haha) and a roma are all still green, but lots of them!

    Nice going!

  6. I just harvested my first tomato as well. It was a Viva Italia. We only had one so it was sliced up and added on top of a homemade grilled pizza. You just can’t beat the flavor of a homegrown tomato! If you have any extras you can freeze them or can them and save even more money.

  7. You HAVE to make homemade salsa! So good with fresh garden-grown tomatoes! DH’s family has a recipe they’ve used for years, and even though I don’t usually like salsa, I could down a jar of their’s by myself!

  8. Our ongoing issue this summer has been a local drought and high cost of water. I don’t know for sure but think this would have voided any savings from raising our own. Sadly no homegrown tomatoes for us this summer.
    Congrats on your eminent harvest!

  9. I love gardening! And homemade tomatoes! Mine are so plentiful.. but still good!

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