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TJ to the rescue

May 15, 2020

Now that it’s clear that I will be going nowhere in July, it’s time to give some serious thought and put some work into what should be happening in the garden that month.

The first summer I attempted to grow fruit and veg in the sunny, fenced off corner of the property can best be described as a spectacular failure. With one notable exception: the cherry tomatoes. Purchased as young plants from a lovely lady who sold them in the local farmers market, the cherry tomatoes did very well indeed. Mind you, as previously noted, given half a chance, tomatoes will grow just about anywhere, including in the crap soil in my so-called garden. For three summers they were my only success. Then my friend Krys and her husband Glenn built me my first raised bed, after which other plants survived and quite often prospered. But nothing did as well as the cherry tomatoes.

Then disaster struck. The lovely lady at the farmers market moved off the island and I was stuck buying my young plants from the local garden shop. Occasionally there’d be a good one, but more often than not they failed to flourish in the manner of lovely-lady-tomato-plants-past. All very disappointing.

Last summer another lovely lady came to my rescue: Rhodo Dave’s wife Jan, who henceforth shall be known as Tomato Jan or TJ for short.

TJ has a nice big greenhouse in a nice sunny spot and grows tomato plants from seeds. Turns out she regularly has more young plants than room to plant them. Last year she offered me six cherry tomatoes. Man, did they deliver. Obviously TJ and her greenhouse have the same magical properties as the lovely market lady’s.

So of course I was pleased when she told me not long ago that more of her marvellous cherry tomato plants would soon be available for (safe, socially distanced) pick up. She asked how many I would like. Six? I suggested hopefully. Fine, she said, before asking if I’d also like some plum tomatoes. Hmm, I thought. I only ever grow cherry tomatoes, because I actually don’t like (frankly can’t see the point of) large, horrible, pulpy tomatoes. But, now that I came to think about it, there is a lovely summer appetizer to be made from slices of plum tomato, bocconcini, basil leaves and a drizzle of balsamic. Mmm. Haven’t had that for a while. Okay, I said, how about five cherry tomatoes and one plum? Fine she said.

When I went round a couple of days ago, I ended up coming home with six cherry tomatoes and four plums. The extra three plum tomatoes were pretty much thrust upon me, along with a bonus of a few young basil plants. Hmm. I’m not sure how many plum tomato and bocconcini salads I can eat. Methinks I may have to master making tomato sauce, which I’ve never attempted to do before. I think my friend Krys has a good recipe for this. Or maybe it’s tomato soup? Never mind. I quite like tomato soup. Can you freeze these, I wonder, ’cos frankly I’m no canner.

So, a solid afternoon in the garden yesterday. (Followed by a well deserved G&T.)

cherry tomatoes

The cherry tomatoes have been planted. (Yes, I know I said there were six and there are only five in the picture, but I am forced at the moment by an uncooperative Mac to take photos with my tablet and on a sunny day you cannot see what is going to be in the photo. You just have to hope for the best and the best I could manage was getting five of the six plants in the picture. Fortunately, it seems help will soon be on its way.) One of the six plants already has a tiny flower!

plum tomatoes

And the four plum tomato plants have been potted. (Yes, I did manage to get all four in the photo.)

Many thanks to Tomato Jan. At some point over the summer I’ll have to have her and Rhodo Dave over for a tomato and bocconcini salad.

In the meantime (and in anticipation of another bumper crop), if anyone has a foolproof recipe for freezable tomato sauce or soup, feel free to share.

One Comment
  1. krysross permalink

    You can absolutely freeze both sauce and soup. You can also just stew the tomatoes (cook in a little oil, with or without onions and seasoning) and freeze that for later use in soup or sauce. I’ll email you some recipes.

    Is that a lupin between the last two plum tomato plants? Lucky thing!

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