Yesterday, November 2nd, the last tomatoes were harvested!
Even with Ashland’s early summer heat wave in late June, two months of smoke filled skies from forest fires, and an early light frost on September 22nd, this season was the longest and most robust tomato harvest ever experienced in the Lucas garden.
What made the difference this year? Was it the 60 lbs of rabbit manure worked into soil in mid-February, the rice straw mulching in mid-June, the removal of all the new growth and stem suckers in mid-September, or all the above? It’s always difficult to determine why one growing season yields a better harvest than previous years, but gardeners are delighted when is all comes together and produces a bounty of tomatoes!
Top producers 2017:
Better Boy: Large fruit, high yielding , disease resistant.* Indeterminate, Harvest in 70-75 days
Early Girl: Medium fruit, early producer and longer season than most varieties. Indeterminate. Harvest in 57-63 days.
San Marzano: Medium fruit, elongated heirloom paste tomato. Somewhat longer season than other paste tomato varieties. Seeds stay true from generation to generation. Indeterminate. Harvest in 85 days.
Jeweled Enchantment: Medium fruit, heirloom slicer, long season producer. Hard to find seeds! Indeterminate. Harvest 70-75 days.
*Indeterminate– Plants continue to grow and fruit throughout the growing season. Determinate – Plant stops growing when fruit sets and all the fruit ripens at approximately the same time over a 1-2 week period.
Tomato Bisque Soup
4 cups chopped fresh Tomatoes
½ cup onions, chopped
2-4 stalks of celery, chopped
½ cup butter ( or ¼ butter & ¼ olive oil)
¼ cup flour
1 qt. milk (or nut milk, either Almond or Cashew)
1 ½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. dried parsley
¼ tsp. baking soda
Phase I: Cook Tomatoes in large sauce pan for 15 minutes.
Add & stir in baking soda to hot tomatoes just before combining the Phase II mixture.
Salute onion & celery in butter for 5 minutes
Add flour, cook 1 minute
Stir in milk, salt, & parsley; cook on low 15 – 20 minutes or until thickened.
Slowly pour tomatoes and the onion- celery- gravy mix into a blender. Remember to vent the blender cap and start motor slowly for stream to escape. Pulse or Blend until desired soup consistency is achieved. Serve hot with a dollop of sour cream. YUM!
Article and photos by: Carlotta Lucas