Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Tomato Porn



Each year I get emails and comments from readers lamenting of failed crops and asking what they have done wrong. I wanted to do a post about crops. Many years my trees are loaded with beautiful blooms come spring. The bees are buzzing and all is well with the world. I dream of bushels baskets overflowing with ripe fruit and mason jars of jellies, jams, preserves and pie fillings lining my pantry shelves. But with several decades of experience under my belt  and my fathers words of "don't count your chickens before they hatch" ringing in my ears. (today would have been his 85th birthday may he rest in peace). I instead  put my faith in God and wait  and hope for the best. I fret and worry when those spring late frosts knock those blooms off before they set fruit. I pray for rain when that spring turns off dry and drought spreads over the prairie. I cross my fingers when those tornadoes and spring storms blow off that young fruit. 

Have I done anything wrong? Not a thing! 

Welcome to a homestead, farmstead, farm, orchard or just gardening in the backyard. 


People... getting that produce that you have dreamed of for years is a crap shoot at best for even the most skilled of gardener.  


I've seen years when my trees just plain had a mind of their own. Look at this apple tree with apples on it ripening in the fall and blooming at the same time. This was two years ago. 


Then there is always those April and even May snowstorms to contend with.


Not to mention those winters when you have to be dug out of your driveway because the snowdrifts are so deep and you lose half of your trees to winter cold damage. 


A perfect example of this is my tomatoes this year. Most years I have tomatoes just hanging and ripe by the end of July. 


And I normally have beautiful large and ripe tomatoes to can, freeze and enjoy all of the late summer and fall.  This year we had an extremely rainy and cool spring. 


Tomatoes love heat. Tomatoes crack when it rains too much and mildew and rot. Did I do anything wrong. Not really.  And there are a whole lot of people in the same boat as I am. 


What can I do. I can pick those tomatoes while they are still green and place them on my sunny porch railing to ripen. Off the bush they absorb no rain. ( As I type this it is Wednesday and it is raining ) 

They will slowly ripen off the bush and I will salvage what I can. Do I get upset? No not really because 

a. Next year is another year.
b. I still have about 80 jars of tomato products canned in my my pantry left over from the last two years bumper crops. So for all of those who email me asking why I put up so much and can those bumper crops this is exactly why. 

 I think this is a way for God to force me to get rid of my older food in jars and he is just helping me keep my pantry current : ) I'm gonna keep telling myself that! 


And let me assure you all we will not starve or want for Food. With two full freezers and almost 1000 jars of food in my pantry not to mention what is dehydrated, still on the vine and in the garden I assure you we will not shed a single pound. 



So we will eat less spaghetti this winter and thank God for other bumper crops that he did provide us with. We will enjoy lots of fried green tomatoes as the tomatoes that are on the vine struggle to ripen in what remains of the warm weather. This is that example of "when God gives you lemons make lemonade" lecture : ) This is about the time my kids would start rolling their eyes at me so feel free because I am used to it. 


SO I will instead include some tomato porn from previous years for all of you to enjoy. 








I want all you new gardeners to read this post often because I want you to know that even the most experienced gardeners have crops fail. You cannot control everything. And everything that can go wrong more than likely will go wrong.  And above all keep trying, learn from your mistakes and keep visiting so I can share all my crop failures with you so you won't feel so bad : )

Blessings from The Holler

The Canned Quilter


16 comments:

  1. We have had a garden for quite sometime now, but I can't remember the last time that we had a bumper crop of tomatoes. It has been a long time. I am not sure if it is due to the weather or the blight. This is the first year in a long time that our tomatoes do look good. They are taking longer to ripen, but they do look better than in the past few years. Knock on wood but the plants as a whole look good with no lesions anywhere. I agree about putting up your bumper crops when you can, you don't know what the following year will bring you.

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  2. Laughing with you...even though the theme of this post is upbeat, there were the cries behind the successes...such is life!

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  3. I love this post. So reassuring. And Im going to put my tomatoes on the porch!

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  4. Some of the best stories I ever heard started with things like…”the year we had corn coming out our ears” or “do you remember when the beans were hanging so thick they jumped in your bucket.” With only a couple of growing seasons behind me, I’m still looking to grow my own versions of these stories.

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  5. Wise words from a wise woman!

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  6. Looking forward to starting my own garden next year in our new house! Your blog makes me want to live my dream so much more!

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  7. You are right about the crap shoot! This year we had a bumper crop of cucumbers and squash, two things that did terrible the two years before! Our tomatoes were rotting on the vines too and we had to pick them "pink" I did manage to can about 24 quarts plus 18 pints of salsa, so not too bad. Our pepper are coming in hot and heavy right now and the freezer is almost full. Such a gratifying feeling!

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    1. Yep my peppers are the same and I am slowly getting those preserved.

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  8. I am new to your site...and new to canning...but I would love to know your recipe or steps to can tomatoes? I am sure it is on your site...did I miss it? I bet I did...

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    1. Look in the tabs above for canning recipes. You will find that recipe under tomatoes or just do a search.

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  9. Yep you sure can't talk Mother Nature into anything! We have had good year for tomatoes. I am canning as many as I can. Cause like you said, you never know what next year might bring. That is a great shot of those tomatoes lined up on your porch railing!

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  10. We are enjoying a bumper crop of tomatoes but last year was a different story. I have to trust God in so many ways with farming and gardening. I have seen for a long time the connection to trusting in God's provision. This year it really struck me that I also have to have faith that God gave me exactly the food I need for the coming year. And it is not always tomatoes. For us this year it will not be potatoes. Thanks for your blog.

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  11. Boy do I understand completely. For the last 3-4 yrs (stopped counting) we have not had ANY tomatoes since the blight that decimated northeast tomatoes. I'd try every year to come out one morning and find them all black and dead, that fast. Commercial organic gardening friends have been using copper daily, I don't care to go that route, in fact using copper on plants is not even allowed in Euro nations. (there are more issues with organic gardening than folks are aware of).This year I refused to even try so my husband stuck a few bought heirlooms in the ground and low and behold, no blight!!! I think only gardeners understand how frustrating it is when you cannot have tons of tomatoes from a few plants. It did make me look at my gardening differently though. We have to cut back the gardens as both of us suffer from various bone and joint issues and when you must garden without tomatoes you learn quickly that you will survive without bumper crops. Today is tomato canning day, just a few dozen jars since we only have a few plants but we can deal with the size of that small harvest better than in the past. Rabbits decimated the cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower so not to worry about them either! We did get tons of potatoes and onions and squash ( I am going to try your pineapple squash recipe), tomorrow we will see a couple farm friends and trade for a bushel of peaches. Like you said, no danger of hunger, we continue to thrive and then some.

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    1. We are starting to develop some arthritis ourselves and will be in the same boat soon. We have already made the decision to cut back a great deal also. We consume less with no children and we need to reduce the amount we can a great deal to lighten up on our load. It is so hard when you love to garden to do that : )

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  12. This is my first visit to your blog but definitely not my last! I finally feel "at home" here on your blog. Thank you for sharing all your knowledge and wisdom with us. There are only two of us now with all the children grown and lives of their own. We haven't had any problems with tomatoes, other than we always plant too many. I can tons (literally) of tomatoes, share extras with family, neighbors and friends and the rest are given to our local food bank and the senior center. I can't stand the thought of food going to waste, so I don't mind driving a few miles to deliver the '''goods''' to both locations.
    I look forward to following your blog.
    Bobbie :)

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Feel free to challenge me, disagree with me, or tell me I’m completely nuts in the comments section of each blog entry, but I reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason whatsoever (abusive, profane, rude, or anonymous comments) – so keep it polite, please. Also I am not a free advertisement board if you want to push a product on my comments I will delete you fast !!!

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