Sunday, July 15, 2018

Preserving the tomato harvest


Sunday, July 15, 2018
The tomato plants are producing faster than we can eat them right now.  There are so many recipes that fresh tomatoes can be used in-salsa, salads, bruschetta, cucumber/tomato/onion salad, on burgers, on sandwiches, on pasta, the list goes on.  So, what to do when you are eating tomatoes at every meal and still have them coming?  It is time to preserve them!

I freeze, dry and can my excess tomatoes.  

Be sure to put the date and description on each freezer bag and quart jar.  You may think you will remember the date they were frozen, but to be on the safe side write the type and date you bagged them.  Use the oldest first and all within a year.
Tomatoes sliced and in quart freezer bag
During peak season for any produce, you can get the lowest prices at your neighborhood farm or farmers market.  In many cases you can get a huge discount for any bruised or blemished tomatoes.  These are great to use for preserving, just be sure to remove any soft spots.

Right now, I prefer to freeze them because it is so hot that I don’t want to turn on any heat generators inside the house.  For cherry type tomatoes, I just half them and throw them in a quart freezer bag and put in the freezer.  For larger tomatoes, I slice then put them in freezer bags.  They thaw much quicker this way.  They will have a fresh taste when thawed and used for salsa, sauces, or chili.  

When it cools, I start drying and canning.  I take all the tomatoes still left from last year and can those.  I use this year's for freshly frozen and dried.

I just love “sun dried” tomatoes right out of my own dehydrator.  You can dry them in the oven too if your oven temp goes down low enough. 150-200 degrees F is recommended and the lower the temp, the redder the dried tomato.  The higher temps will cause the dried fruit to darken.  It will take 6-10 hours for the tomato to dry.  You want to make sure they are completely dry or they will mold in the jar.  You store your dried tomatoes in a quart jar to use until next year.  
Chocolate and black tomatoes oven dried

Only a water bath is needed for canning tomatoes because they are acidic.  Make sure you follow a sauce recipe exactly as it is critical for keeping to the right acid level.  I use Weck's canning jars.  They are all glass so no worries about what is in the lining of the lids.  And they are a really pretty shape.  They are made in Germany.  I haven't found any all glass canning jars made in the USA, unless you get the antiques.  

All you need to can tomato sauce is a large pot, canning jars, a metal funnel, and tongs.  A pressure canner is not needed for acidic foods like tomatoes.  Always follow the recipe as written to insure food safety.  For more on canning, see  Easy, low tox canning of summer's bounty

I throw the entire tomato (without the stem) into the food processor.  Most recipes say to remove the peel and seeds because they can impart a bitter taste.  I have not had any bitterness in my sauces and there are lots of nutrition in the seeds and peels so I make use of the entire fruit.  I also use all types of tomatoes and not just the paste tomatoes.  Paste tomatoes are meatier and make a silkier sauce which is nice for soups.  I always have a paste tomato in my garden and try to have one per bag when I freeze them.  My favorite paste is the heirloom Italian Paste.  It provides lots of huge, red tomatoes.

This is a good time to save the seeds from the best, biggest, tastiest tomatoes for your garden next year.  I take the seeds and put them in water to let them ferment.  Those that float are not viable.  I remove these, lay the good seeds on a paper towel to dry thoroughly, then place in a zip lock bag with the date and variety to use in next year's garden.
Sauce in Weck canning jars
Here is the recipe from Ball’s “Complete Book of Home Preserving” for tomato paste:
9 cups of pureed tomatoes, 1½ cups of chopped sweet bell peppers, 2 bay leaves, 1 teas salt, 1 clove of garlic.  I'll also toss in some of my dried mixed herbs for flavor.  About a tablespoon or two per batch.

I put it all into a large pot and let simmer until it is the consistency and taste I like, about 2.5 hours.  Remove the bay leaves and garlic.  Boil the jars, lids, and seals as the sauce is close to done.

Add 3 teas of lemon juice to each hot pint jar, fill with the hot tomato sauce to within ½ inch of the top, and seal the lid, following the instructions for the type of jar you are using.  Place all the filled jars in a large pot, insuring they are fully covered with water.  Bring to a boil and process for 45 minutes.  Remove from canner.  Let cool.  Test the seal after the jar is completely cool.  It should not lift off.  That’s it!  

I will can any frozen tomatoes I have left over from last season as I start bringing in the harvest for this year.  It takes about 12 quarts of frozen tomatoes yesterday to make 1 gallon (4 liters) of sauce.  I use the half liter Weck's tulip jars which is almost the exact size of a pint jar and are pretty to boot.

Other high acid foods you can using a water bath are jams, jellies, condiments, salsas (Quick, homemade salsa), pickles (Make your own pickles without a store bought seasoning mix), and relishes.  Consult with a canning book for more tips and always be sure to follow the recipe exactly to ensure they safely keep.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Use plants to repel mosquitos

Purple flowering Holy Basil on right and marigolds on left

Sunday, July 8, 2018

There are many herbs that work just as well as chemicals to repel mosquitoes.  Here are a few powerhouses:
Rose scented monarda-contains geranoil an ingredient used in some commercial natural repellants
Lime basil-great for cooking and repelling the pesky blood suckers
Catnip has been found to be more effective than DEET in studies
Holy basil-you can use seeds floated in water to kill mosquito larvae
Thyme-repels as well or better than DEET
Herbs also do well in pots so you can put them right where you need them!

Flowering catnip in the background
Natural mosquito trap:
Use a quart jar.
Mash 1 cup fruit and allow to ferment in the sun 1-2 days.
Mix fermented fruit, 3 teas sugar, 1/2 teaspoon boric acid, and 2 drops jasmine essential oil in the quart jar with a lid punched with several 1/16” holes in lid.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Growing zucchini and summer squash

Baby zucchini
Saturday, July 7, 2018

Zucchini is a summer squash.  All summer squash love heat, fertile soil, and sustained moisture.  You can plant them as soon as all danger of frost is past and they will be producing in just a few short weeks.  You can even plant them now and they will be producing a few short weeks.  They go right through until fall if you keep them picked.  All plants are programmed to reproduce so if you keep the fruits picked, the plant will keep trying to replace it.

Squash originated in Mexico.  There are cave drawings from 8000 to 6500 BC depicting squash.  Squash was grown extensively by Native Americans as part of the “Three Sisters” of squash, corn and beans.
Squash love organic matter.  If you throw a few seeds in your compost pile, you will be rewarded with exuberant vines.

Zucchini is full of nutrition.  It contains antioxidants, carotenes, lutein, folates, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C, and B vitamins.  For more specific nutritional information, Summer squash nutrition info

Zucchini bush
Plant when nighttime temps are 55F or warmer.  Add a fertilizer rich in phosphorous a week after transplanting, when flowers first appear and again when fruits begin to form.  I use tomato fertilizer on all my fruiting plants like peppers, eggplant and squash.  They love water, too. Give zucchini a mid summer side dressing of fertilizer or compost if planted in the ground.   Summer garden tips

Zucchini can be easily grown in a container, too.  Look for compact bush types like Bush Baby, Yellow Crookneck, Eight Ball, Cue Ball, Golden Delight, Anton, Patio Star, Giambo, Astia, Raven, Cosmos Hybrid (look for bush types versus vining types).  If growing in a pot, keep well watered and don’t let dry out.  Fertilize every couple of weeks with a liquid fertilizer if in a pot.  

You can direct sow the seeds directly into the garden or in a pot.  If direct sowing, be sure to pull the mulch away from where the seed is planted to make it easier for the seedling to break through the soil.

Don’t panic when the first blooms fall off without producing any fruits.  There are male and female flowers.  If yours falls off, it was likely a poor guy that withered without the love of a gal.  There can also be some false starts with malformed fruits.  Don’t worry, the plant will put on more blooms and you will be on your way to zucchini overload before you know it!

If you allow the fruit to get too big, the skin gets tough and the seeds hard.  Optimum length is no longer than 6 inches for the juiciest fruit and the smallest seeds.  We just picked 2 that were more like a foot long and they were still delicious.  

Our favorite preparation is to slice and grill it.  We slice them lengthwise, brush on olive oil, dust with sea salt, and put them on the grill with whatever we are cooking as the main course.  Grilling or roasting brings out the sweetness in the fruit.  Olive oil does not reach smoke temperatures until 350-400F so is still a good choice when grilling below 325.

If they grow large, you can use them for zucchini bread or cut in half, scoop out the seeds, stuff with a sausage tomato sauce and bake until tender.  

For more ideas on what to do with an abundant zucchini harvest, check out  What to do with all that zucchini?!

There are a couple of pests that you have to worry about with zucchini-the cucumber beetle, the squash bug and squash vine borer.  Cucumber beetle can infect the vine/bush with bacterial wilt.  When you see them, pull them off and drop in soapy water.  If you start your plants after June 1, you will avoid the vine borer as they lay their eggs in May.  Natural, organic pest strategies and how to make your own bug sprays

In late summer in areas with high humidity, you can get powdery mildew.  This can be treated by spraying with baking soda, copper or fresh whey.  I have found that planting a second plant around the first of July is the best approach.  This plant will be kicking in as the second starts slowing down.  Preventing and treating powdery mildew

If you bought a heirloom or open pollinated variety, you can easily save the seed to grow next year's plants.  From your best plant, let one get large, remove from the vine and leave it out in the garden bed.  the inner flesh will deteriorate leaving the seeds.  Just scoop out the seeds, let them dry, put in a plastic baggie, date and keep in the frig for next year.  Seed saving-fun, easy and a cost saver

Saturday, June 30, 2018

July 2018 Edible Garden Planner

Zucchini, white cucumbers, tomatoes and green beans from the July garden
Sunday, June 30, 2018

July is the time of year for harvesting the heat lovers like tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, cucumbers, sprouting broccoli, green beans, all types of peppers, garlic, basil with other Mediterranean herbs.  It is also the time to plant for fall harvests.

I got my summer garden going late this year.  Typically all my summer veggies are being harvested at this time-peppers, zucchini, eggplant, cucumbers, tomatoes and green beans.  This year, I do have my first ripe tomatoes, eggplant and peppers.  The rest are flowering like crazy so it won't be long.  They love this heat and humidity so should be producing within the month.

By the end of the month, there will be more summer veggies than we can eat and we will start preserving the extra.  Preservation garden

The spring greens have bolted, but there are summer greens that are robust during the hot days of summer.  My favorites are salad burnet, Swiss chard, collards, Malabar spinach, mustard greens, New Zealand spinach, orach, sorrel, sprouting broccoli and cultivated dandelions.  Growing summer salads

The spring lettuce has gone to seed.  When you see the white fuzzies, they are ready to save.  I just pull the seed heads, break apart, put in a ziplock freezer bag, label with type and date, and store in the refrigerator.  I also re-seeded our self watering pots with some of the seeds.  The lettuce seeds I planted last month have sprouted and are ready to transplant.  Never ending salad from one packet of seeds  I'm going to start some more seed to keep the harvest going.  Succession planting is key for keeping lettuce in the heat of the summer.  Start your lettuce seeds in a cool spot as they won't sprout when the ground is above 75 F.  You can even start them in a pot indoors and then take outside when they have sprouted.

There are even a select few varieties of lettuce that can stand up to summer heat:
Leaf lettuce-”New Red Fire”, “Simpson Elite”
Butterhead-”Optima”, “Winter Density:
Romaine-”Jericho”, ”Green Towers”
Batavian-”Magenta”, “Nevada”
If you haven't already, now is the time to plant these heat champions.  Bolt-free, sweet summer lettuces

Pole green beans on trellis
The pole green beans are flowering now so it won't be long before we have fresh green beans.  Harvest them to keep them producing.  I keep a quart bag in the freezer and add mature green beans as they are ready for picking.  Legumes-peas for spring, beans for summer

I have already harvested the garlic, including the elephant garlic.  I love elephant garlic as the cloves are as their name suggests, they are huge!  I am hardening both types in the shade outdoors for two weeks before storing indoors.  Hardening is critical for the garlic to not rot when stored.  Save the biggest cloves for replanting in the fall.  Garlic harvest time is near!  The other way I like to preserve garlic is to pickle them in apple cider vinegar with a few hot peppers and store in the frig.

Our basil has been slow to get started but is now off to the races.  The trick to keeping the plants from getting woody is to make sure to harvest down to the first few sets of leaves before the plants go in to full flower.  I get two good harvests before fall.  Basil basics-harvesting, preserving, growing basil

Oregano, mint, and catnip will be blooming soon.  The bees love the small lavendar flowers!  It could be cut and dried now, but I love the flowers, too, and will wait until fall.  Make your own "Herbes de Provence"

I fertilized all the pots again as well as the basil to keep it growing.  Pots lose nutrients at a much higher rate than garden beds.  I am using a liquid fertilizer for all the plants at least every other week and using a solid fertilizer monthly around each plant.  I like Espoma.  I use their tomato fertilizer for all fruit producing plants and their general purpose vegetable fertilizer for all other veggie and herb plants.  Decorative container gardening for edibles

I have started using a mineral supplement for my plants this year.  Right now I am using Azomite.  So many soils are low in minerals.  Your plants can't absorb what the soil does not have.  If your plants get a big boost when you add minerals to the soil, you know that it was needed.  Adding minerals to the plants and soil will significantly increase the minerals in the plant itself, giving you minerals in the veggies you eat.  The next step in garden production and your nutrition-soil minerals

A key to keeping the garden productive this time of year is to keep even moisture to all the beds and containers.  Water the beds weekly and deeply.  During hot, dry periods, your containers may need watering every other day.  Self-watering pots with reservoirs in the bottom are the trick to extending watering duties.  Summer garden tips

If you are getting higher than normal rainfall, you'll need to fertilize more often as the rain will wash away the nutrients.  Keep an eye on the the growth of your veggies and if they are not growing and producing as expected, they may need some extra food.

The wild blackberries are ripe and ready for picking right now.  You have to get them quickly or the critters will beat you to it.  The Alpine strawberries are producing well.  Giving them a good fertilizer boosts the size of the fruits.  Alpine strawberries are super sweet, but small.

Finally, the summer flowers are going gangbusters.  The zinnias, hollyhocks, daylilies, marigolds, petunias, nasturtiums,  echinacea as well as the herbs like lavender, sage, and thyme are all in full bloom.  The morning glory, hummingbird vine, sedum are all in bud and will be blooming soon.  The mustard, carrots, broccoli and lettuce have all bolted and are flowering.  The bees just love their tiny flowers!  Flowers are not only beautiful, but attract pollinators making the garden more productive.
A butterfly on zinnias in the edible garden
This is the month to start your seeds and seedlings for fall and winter harvests.  You have to start early so they are at full size before frost.  Time to plant for fall and winter harvests! 

Pests and fungus can also be a problem during this time of year.  You can try and stay ahead of pests by monitoring the garden closely and picking off the pests.  If they do get the best of you, here are some natural ways to combat them  Natural, organic pest strategies and how to make your own bug sprays  Preventing and treating powdery mildew

Sunday, June 24, 2018

How to grow cucumbers-in pots or in the garden

Cucumber vines on trellis in the August garden
Sunday, June 24,  2018

Cucumbers are a tropical plant and love heat.  They should be started indoors 4 weeks prior to the last frost (mid March in our Zone 6) and transplanted outside after all danger of frost has passed.  They can also be directly sown into the garden in the summer.  You can plant into July and have fruits from August to frost.

Cucumbers have been around for thousands of years and originally from India.  The cucumber arrived in Europe at least 2000 years ago.  The Romans loved them.  Christopher Columbus brought the cucumber with him to Haiti in the 1400‘s and was likely aboard the first ships in Virginia in the 1600’s.

Cucumbers are a good source of potassium, antioxidants like beta carotene, lutein, vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K.  It also has a diuretic properties.  Cucumber nutritional info  Cucumbers have a sweet, refreshing taste. 

Cucumbers should be planted in full sun with rich soil and consistent moisture.  Cucumbers can be grown in pots or in the garden bed.   You can let them run or train them to grow on a trellis.  If growing in soil, plant 4 seeds in hills 3-4‘ apart and thin to the strongest two.  I plant mine around a trellis to use the vertical space.  

If growing green varieties, harvest before the fruits turn yellow.  Early fruits have less seeds.  Frequent harvesting also encourages the vine to grow more fruits.  Follow the seed packet instructions for harvesting of other colors of cucumbers.

If growing in pots, look for patio, dwarf, bush, or compact in the description.  Some small varieties include Lemon, Suyo, Salad Bush, Fanfare, Sweet Success.  One vine of Salad Bush was all we needed to have enough cucumbers to make pickles for the year for my husband and for salads for me.  I also love adding cukes to my smoothies.  
Grow your own smoothie and juice garden
Decorative container gardening for edibles
Make your own pickles without a store bought seasoning mix

I started my seedlings in coir pods at the end of May this year.  I planted them out into the garden a couple of weeks ago.   I planted seeds for a yellow that can weigh up to 5 pounds (Jaune Dickfleishige), a red (Hmong Red), and 1 white cucumber into the garden around a trellis.  The white is a small fruit which is great for a single salad or smoothie.  My vines started flowering last week so it won't be long before I am harvesting cucumbers.

Fertilize regularly and keep evenly moist.  Do not let soil completely dry out.  This will result in bitter or hollow fruits.  Each plant produces both male and female flowers.  The first flowers will likely be males.  Don’t be surprised or worried when the first flowers fall off without fruiting.  When the female flowers appear, you will get baby fruits.
Summer garden tips

Don't forget to save seeds from your best producer for next year's garden!
Seed saving-fun, easy and a cost saver
SaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSave

Saturday, June 23, 2018

It is not too late to start a garden in June!

June garden
Saturday, June 23, 2018

You can start a garden at any time in spring, summer or fall.  If you are deciding to start your garden in the summer, there are a few techniques to use to figure out what to plant and help your plants survive and flourish. 

Step 1-I think the best way is to make a list of what you like to eat, then see which of your favorites are best to start right now in your garden!  This is the time of year of the heat lovers like eggplant, cucumbers, tomatoes, and peppers.  There is no time like the present to get moving on your gardening dreams.
Planning for a four season garden  Time to plant summer veggies!  Start a kitchen herb garden!  
Summer garden veggies
Step 2-Now that you have your list, take a look at your garden, patio, deck, porch, front yard to see how much space you have that gets 6 hours of sun a day.  There are so many dwarf varieties of every kind of vegetable to grow in pots or small spaces that you should not be put off thinking you don’t have enough space!
Get the most from your space-plant intensively!  
How to decide what to plant for small spaces? 
Companion planting tips    Edible shade gardens shine in summer

Step 3-Buy your supplies for your garden bed or pot.  Pots are easy-just buy some organic potting soil and the decorative pot.  Most potting soils come with fertilizer already mixed in.   You do not want to use garden soil as it is too dense for pots.  Make sure you buy the right size pot for the vegetable you are growing.
Make your own all natural, complete fertilizer  Re-energize your potting soil!
Decorative container gardening for edibles  Weed free, self fertilizing, till free garden beds  

Step 4-Buy your plants.  I prefer to buy plants that are raised without chemicals so I look for an organic nursery to see if they have what I want.  The brand carried at many big box stores started carrying organic this year.  My next stop is my local nursery or big box hardware store.  Choose the plants that are green and look sturdy.  If they already have blooms, be sure to remove them.  You want all the energy of your plants going into good roots initially.  The heat lovers like tomatoes, beans, peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, and eggplant will also sprout from seed easily this time of year.  I have pepper and tomato seeds started in the deck in a pot right now.  They sprout in just a few days.  I transplanted the sprouts into larger pots to give them room to grow sturdy.  I'll transplant them into the garden when they are around 5" tall.
Newly started seeds
Step 5-Plant!  Water each plant well before planting.  The best time to plant is before a rain or cloudy days.  Gives the plants a little time to get their roots jump started.  I add plant starter and fertilizer to each hole, mix with the soil and then place the plant.  Water again after planting.

For potted veggie or herbs, fill the pot with organic potting soil, water to get the potting soil settled, plant the veggie, and water again.  You can top with mulch to keep lengthen the time between waterings.  I also plant flowers in my pots to add color and attract beneficial insects.
Decorative container gardening for edibles

If planting in your flower bed or garden, the best thing to do is a soil test (you can buy a kit or take it to your local co-op extension office).  If this just seems too much trouble, buy an organic balanced fertilizer and compost.  Pull back your existing mulch, apply a 2” thick layer of compost, top with the fertilizer (following the label’s directions), plant your new veggie or herb, readjust your mulch back around your plants, and water.
The next step in garden production and your nutrition-soil minerals

I like to put a handful of worm castings into each hole with the new plant along with a balanced organic fertilizer like Espoma.  Worm castings have lots of beneficial microbes in them that helps the plants absorb nutrients from the soil.

Newly planted pepper plant started from seed

Step 6-Monitor and water.  Keep an eye on your plants.  They may look sad the first week if it is really hot when they first go into the ground.  Consistent water is the key for success.  Like a lawn or flowers, the best time to water is in the mornings.  When you water your flowers, water your veggies and herbs.

One watch out on watering, many summer crops are susceptible to leaf fungus, like cucumbers, zucchini, squash, and tomatoes.  Be sure to water at the base of the plant and not the leaves.

Here are a couple of garden ideas:

If you have a picky eater, try the kid’s pizza garden.  If they grow it, they want to eat it!
Tomatoes-any you can’t eat, you can easily freeze for winter pizzas
Basil, oregano, chives, garlic for seasoning
Onions-you can grow Egyptian walking onions in a pot or ground and they are perennials to boot
Kale, arugula, and sprouting broccoli for a little green in your pizza toppings (easy to freeze for later)
Green peppers, eggplant, zucchini for summer pizzas (maybe some hot peppers for the adults)
For those that are real adventuresome, you can get mushroom kits to grow mushrooms.

Or if you want a culinary garden, here is an Italian/Sicilian garden that you can grow in as little as a 6’ x 6’ space:
Herbs (1 each)-thyme, rosemary, sage, oregano, and flat leaf parsley
3 basil plants (for pesto and seasoning)
2 tomatoes-1 Roma type for sauces and 1 slicer type for salads
2 sweet pepper plants
1 zucchini
1 eggplant
8 red onions (you can substitute Egyptian walking onions for a summer garden)
8 garlic plants (planted in the fall for summer harvest)
Arugula, spinach and lettuce scatter sown

It is great fun, a time saver, and nutritious to grow your own food in your yard!

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Top 10 Tomato Myths (And Some Truths)



Sunday, June 17, 2018

Tomatoes are by far the most popular vegetable to grow in the United States. There is nothing like a tomato ripe from the vine! Many people started gardening by way of the tomato. They were the very first vegetable we grew. Many gardeners have the techniques they swear by to get the biggest and best tomatoes. Here are some tales that are not necessarily true.

Tomato Growing Myths (and Some Truths)
  1. Tomatoes love as much sun as possible! This depends on where you live. In very hot climates, 6-8 hours is plenty. Your tomatoes can actually scald in intense sun and heat. For hot climates, plant your tomatoes in a north to south row so each side gets some shade each day.
  2. You should prune your tomatoes for the best harvests. This again depends on your climate. If you live in a hot climate with intense sun and heat, you want to keep the leaves to help protect the tomatoes from sun scald. If you live in a damp area, you want to prune the tomato plant to allow good air circulation and sunlight.
  3. Tomatoes love fertilizer! Actually, you only want to fertilize when you plant and again when the plant flowers. Too much nitrogen encourages leaf growth. Some that really sock the fertilizer to the plant end up with a giant green plant with no tomatoes. To help with flowering, fruiting and blossom end rot, be sure to get a fertilizer with plenty of phosphorous and calcium or one specifically for tomatoes.
  4. Tomatoes can’t be grown in pots. Tomatoes can be grown in pots, but not the big tomato plants or you have to grow them in a huge container like a whiskey barrel. Look for dwarf, pot, or patio types. You will need to put in a large pot and be prepared to water often.
  5. Tomatoes need to be watered a lot. Actually, if you water your tomatoes a lot, you can end up with fungal diseases and mushy fruit. The trick with tomatoes is to keep their moisture even. Letting the ground crack and then drowning the plant will result in cracked fruit. In the hot times of the summer with no rain, you will likely need to water at least weekly. Be sure to not water the leaves, but the root.
  6. When you see leaves dropping, something is wrong. This is a natural progression of the plant. As fruits begin to form, there is less energy for the leaves and some leaves will turn yellow and die.
  7. A spindly tomato transplant is an unhealthy one. Actually the nodes on the stems can easily be transformed into roots. I take my transplants and remove the bottom leaves and plant on its side with only the top 4 leaves above ground.  Roots will grown all along the stem buried in the soil.  This gives the plant a good root system.
  8. You can only transplant in early summer. Actually, if your tomato plants are starting to fade in mid summer, you can put out new transplants that will give you fruit until the first frost.
  9. When you make sauce, the skins and seeds have to be removed. I put whole tomatoes into the food processor. Some say that the skin and seeds can impart a bitter flavor. With the many types of tomatoes I have raised, this has never been a problem for me.
  10. Only paste tomatoes can be used for sauce. I use all my tomatoes for sauce. The best for sauce for me are the most prolific tomato plants. These have been smaller tomatoes and Cherokee Purple for us. I would ask your neighbors which ones give the most fruit if you are looking to put up by freezing or canning.    

The last tip: Tomatoes are susceptible to fungal diseases. Do try to not plant your tomatoes in the same spot for four years. Fungal diseases stay in the soil and take a while to die out. The same goes for a pot. A way around it for a pot is to use new soil and disinfect the pot each year.  Also, do not water the foliage as this will encourage fungal diseases.