I say Tomay-to, you say Tomah-to
Summer officially starts today, and with the summer heat and rain patterns come the decline of the Florida tomato crop until fall. The success of growing tomatoes is a an effort of balancing sun and rain and keeping other creatures off of your prized possessions. The taste of a homegrown tomato is like none other and always a preference on the menu.
Stretch the last of your crop until fall to keep that fresh addition to any meal available at any time.
Depending on the ripeness of the tomato, depends on what you can do with them. The longer the tomato stays on the vine, the more the flavor will develop. The trick is to then keep the 4-legged and and 8-legged creatures away! Planting marigolds interspersed your tomato plants helps keeps bugs aways (including whiteflies and nematodes). Plus there is the added benefit that pesticide free marigolds are edible and are great on salads and desserts. If you can get the watering needs of the plants to a science, then you are on your way to a great homegrown tomato season.
From Left to right: green, breaking, turning1, turning 2, pink, light red, red
When your harvest is just too much, here are some ways to utilize your crop year round.
When you have tomatoes that just don't want to stay on the bush, don't waste them. Make a chutney or the ever classic fried green tomatoes. Green tomatoes have a much longer refrigerator life than a tomato that has turned red and started to ripen. Tomatoes that are green and starting to develop streaks of red are c