Tomatoes Come Lately


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If you didn’t already know, I have a herb garden. It’s my second year growing herbs and it’s been a pretty wonderful thing to be able to step outside my door and grab a few herbs while cooking. I figured I’d focus on herbs for now as I can usually snag a vegetable or two from Lucille’s garden-of-abundance up the road. So the herb thing has been going well. I’ve been able to freeze and/or dry herbs for the winter months. But one day mid-summer a coworker brought in some little tomato plants that she had no room for in her own garden. So I took 4 of the little plants thinking “well let’s see what happens”. What happened was that they outgrew their pots. And it just so happened that I had dug out some plants from my herb garden leaving some empty space. So I thought I’d just plug them in those empty spots breaking my herbs-only rule in that garden. But I figured it would be for this one summer only. Just to see what happens. Here’s what happened, tomato mayhem. They grew and grew to the point that Jack came looking for his bean stalk. (I had to send him up the road) Now the problem is, I planted them late, so it took awhile for the tomatoes to appear. And then even longer for them to blush and turn red. By then I was getting nervous about the cool nights getting increasingly colder. It was getting late in the season and I kept watching for any signs of green to orange to red. I think I actually stared down a few tomatoes till they did turn red.

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Now that they are turning red, it’s getting too cold. But there are so many left on the vines and I hate to waste them and all the stare-downs I’ve invested in them. Then someone mentioned that one can pull a tomato plant out roots and all and hang them upside down in the basement, and they will continue to ripen. With another cold night coming, I couldn’t wait much longer. Action must be taken. Dinner must be delayed. The tomatoes must hang. Except they were such a tangle of vines that I couldn’t get the whole plant out of the cage that supported them. Dark was descending (of course with Halloween approaching you knew that I had to get in a line like that), I had to work fast. Okay, cut off the vines and hang them sans roots. Which brings us back to my “well let’s see what happens” frame of mind.

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So down the stairs I go clutching my haul of vines. I should explain that I’m a short-cut kind of girl. If I can find an easier way to do something I’ll go for it in order to save time, trouble and get to dinner faster. Therefore the idea of untangling twine and vines and hanging them from rafters encased in cobwebs wasn’t too appealing, I saw an easier approach right before my eyes. My drying rack:

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Forget laundry anymore, I think I may buy another drying rack and just hang all manner of herbs, and in a late season pinch, tomatoes. It just seems like such an obvious thing to do I wonder why it hadn’t occurred to me before. I wonder how many others do this, and why didn’t I know about it sooner!? Next year though, the tomatoes get the boot from the herb garden, they really need their own space. And if anyone has any ideas what to do with a lot of cherry tomatoes, let me know! Salsa? Sauce? I better look into that before I once again find it’s getting too late…

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