It’s that time of year to put those tomatoes in the ground! YAY!!!!! As much as I love our tomatoes, they sure are needy little things. They’re always like “I’m thirsty, I’m hungry! I fell over! There’s bugs on me! This weed is touching me!” Sheesh! Yes, as wonderful as they are, they sure do need some additional attention and support. Emotional support (in the form of fish emulsion application and pep talks) and physical support. Oh yeah, we’re talking about the ever so important tomato cage. Those of you that usually buy tomato cages at big box stores can know how flimsy and unreliable can be. Instead of buying those or stringing up trellises, we make our own super sturdy and durable tomato cages from highway mesh. They’re very cost effective, can be used year after year, really strong and really awesome.
During the summer I really love to can and preserve all that I can from our harvests. I want to can gallons and gallons and gallons of things however I’m always stingy to use it and I try to ration it out so we have enough to get us through until next season. Anytime Dave reaches for a can of pasta sauce I’m always quick to say “No!! I’m saving that! Let’s make something else tonight!” He replies, “What are you saving it for?” “I don’t know.. I just am!” However, when company comes over I’m popping pickled peppers and dilly beans like it’s Cristal or something. I know, I don’t get it either. But there’s a big pile of snow outside and no sight of above freezing temperatures for a while. So that means I want some warm, hearty homemade soup. And I figured that this would be the perfect time to pop open some of the cans I put up to treat myself to a taste of summer in this hearty Tomato Pepper Chicken Stew.
One thing we learned from our garden this year is that we planted waaaaay too many cherry tomatoes. It got to a point that if we needed to punish them, we sent them out to pick cherry tomatoes. Forget water boarding… come to cherry tomato hell. Ok, maybe it wasn’t that bad but it was very tedious and we were left with plenty of spare cherry tomatoes after our restaurant deliveries. What do we do with all of these suckers? You can’t really sauce them, we don’t have freezer space to freeze them but there is one more solution… to shrink ray them! Or, you know, dehydrate them. I really love sun-dried tomatoes but I don’t have the time (or the daylight) to do that, so the next best thing is to fake and bake. No tanning goggles necessary!
It’s finally time to put all of our greenhouse starts into the ground and start direct sowing! We’ve been waiting and waiting and waiting for the weather to cooperate with us, but now that we finally have the garden tilled and the beds made, we’re ready to get into the garden.
Ok, the greenhouse isn’t really leaking. We just like wordplay. In fact, the greenhouse is looking pretty awesome these days. Zach has been kicking some plant ass! He just finished the first round of up-potting tomatoes, peppers, kale and leeks. Ahh.. seed babies. They grow up so fast!
So after two years of research, planning, digging, building, and drinking our greenhouse finally exists. There it is. Sitting right next to the garden. We are finally ready to grow some sick tight vegetables, yeah? Not quite. This is the story of how Zach got the final and most important part of our greenhouse puzzle.