The biggest lesson this year was around tomatos. I did so many things wrong, it’s almost impossible to count them. Nearly every step along the way, I made a mistake. Most were recoverable, but it meant that we ended up with a crop of about a dozen tomatos from 16 plants. This is a miserable failure, but still cheaper than buying them at the store.
For next year, I will be trying the following:
- Use grow lights for the seedlings. The sun here in the early months of spring just doesn’t cut it.
- Harden the tomatoes in the unattached garage. I skipped this step, or shortened it too much. The plants were frost-burned in their first week, but recovered.
- Buy cages. Even the bush tomatoes need cages. They fell all over the ground, leaving the fruit in easy reach of the slugs.
- Water with an automated system. The ad-hoc watering I did meant that the fruit cracked. Not pretty, but still edible.
- Be around for the end of the season. This year, we went on vacation. But then, I expected the fruit to ripen before we were scheduled to go. I was only a month off. Ha!
- Force the fruit to ripen. If I do this one plant at a time, I should be able to handle the amount of fruit. Then again, it takes 3 pounds of fruit to start a sauce, so all at once would be fine. Better than expecting the fruit to ripen on its own.
- Be prepared for green tomatoes with recipes. Try some recipes out before the last minute so they can be ready to go.
I must remember to consult this list in the spring so that I get it right next year. Fresh tomatoes are too spectacular to let them go to waste.