Thursday, October 27, 2011
Extending the Tomato Harvest
Homegrown tomatoes are so delicious. I’ve planted at least a few tomato plants each year through most of my adult life. I enjoy eating fresh tomatoes when they’re in season and generally avoid tomatoes the rest of the year. In Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, Barbara Kingsolver describes out of season tomatoes as tasting like “sour water”. I agree.
Our short growing season means that we haven’t harvested many tomatoes when the weather turns cold again. My tomato plants have a lot of green tomatoes, and with daytime temperatures in the 40s and 50s and nightime temperatures near freezing, those tomatoes aren’t going to ripen on their own.
In the past, I’ve harvested the green tomatoes and let them ripen on the windowsill, which works well. This year I’m trying something different that I remember reading about.
The tomato plants are pulled from the ground, the dirt is shaken off of the roots, and the plants, with the green tomatoes still attached, are hung upside down in a dry, frost-free place.
I’ve hung the tomato plants in the garage at the end of a storage rack. We’ll see how well this method of extending the tomato harvest works.