This years cool spring and regular summar rains have been a blessing to our Mississippi gardens. We were spared the early summer 100+ degree days we’ve seen over the last few years that burned our gardens to the ground before they had a chance to produce much.
I recently wrote about the first tomato of the season. As of today, we’ve put up close to 4 gallons of tomato sauce, 2 gallons of salsa and have a hundred ripening tomatoes on the kitchen window sill. The plants in the garden are still heavily laden with green tomatoes that will produce through August.
That’s when it usually gets too hot and dry for the plants to keep producing and I cut the plants back about a foot from the ground. They will sprout new growth as the weather cools into fall and produce another round of fruit which may – if we are lucky – keep us in tomatoes until mid January. This is done by picking unripened, green tomatoes just before the first hard frost, wrapping them in newspaper and storing them in the pantry until they ripen. The waiting gives us something to do during the long winter months.
Here at left, the tomatoes are quartered up. From here they will either go into the sauce pot (lower picture) or into the food processor to make salsa.
Below, is the second picking (looks like there will be three summer pickings). There are at least this many green tomatoes still hanging on the vines as of 8/7/13. Here you can see the different stages of ripening.