Self-Made: Growing Heirloom Tomatoes

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and thus marks the time of year where we should be thankful for the harvest. In this post particularly, the tomato harvest. The beautiful heirloom tomatoes shown above were grown by a very dear friend of mine, Caylan. 

Wanting to know more about gardening, and being oh so envious of her harvest, I asked her a few questions to help her share her wealth of gardening knowledge.

M: What kind of tomatoes did you grow this year?

C: One kind called brandy vine an [heirloom] variety that has soooooo many tomatoes for the plant. [I’ve planted] eleven different varieties and I am [testing] which ones I like best. Not all of them have ripened yet so I can’t really say which ones are better tasting yet.

Cherry tomatoes, like sweet million the variety I planted, are amazingly easy compared to the [regular] tomatoes which can be fussy.

Me: What are your top 3 tips for people looking to grow their own tomatoes?

C: Yellow tomatoes are not as delicious as red tomatoes; they are more [mealy] in texture. Yellow pear cherry tomatoes are pretty but nothing to be excited about [in taste] compared to red cherry tomatoes.

Water only the roots, don’t get water on the leaves [because] they will burn in the sun and if [water] gets on the tomatoes [it] will cause them to split.

Learn how to properly trim your tomatoes [because it] is very important for high tomatoe yield. [You do this] by removing  the “suckers” aka the branches that are going to suck energy from the fruit. And shake your tomato flowers so that they can self fertilize with higher frequency.

M: What do you plan on making with all your beautiful tomatoes?

C: I plan on eating as many of them fresh as I can. And then I will make tomato sauce [to freeze]. I will also cut them I half and slow roast them at low heat In the oven to make delicious roasted tomatoes.

Caylan, a master do-it-yourselfer and a Salt Spring Island native, has the natural ability to forage, grow and make almost anything - or at least I like to think so - herself. And these tomatoes are the fruit (literally, oh puns!) of her labour. This year she also contributed her gardening knowledge in an article about building community through gardening in the August issue of Sad Mag.

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    Pipes, master gardener
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