Officially the end of summer today. Seven degrees outside:: snow on the mountain. Cold. Blustery. Rainy. Perfect weather for curling up on the sofa with my delicious new book. Maybe later. I've got work to do today. It's crunch time for the tomatoes.
"Pull 'em out. t. o. d. a. y. Every last one. Frosts are coming tonight."
That was the word in the school car park this morning, as photocopies of CWA green tomato recipes were passed around. So today I ripped the plants out, all thirty of them, to reveal long lost scribbled labels, that had been pushed into the soil next to tiny seedlings all those months ago. Brandywine, Amish Paste, Napoli, Roma, Black Russian.
Snip, Snip, Snip. I cut the green tomatoes off the vines and they fall into the basket. Plop, Plop, Plop. My hands are freezing. It's raining. The wind lashes my face. It's muddy. It's cold. I wish I could do it later. But it's now or never. By tomorrow, the predicted frost will turn them into black mush.
So many green tomatoes. Admittedly, I was a bit late getting them in this year. And as a result of my lazy gardening, they spent autumn catching up with a long finished summer. And today's cold snap means that they never will. That, coupled with mild weather and this mostly verdant crop is the best I could hope for. No ripe, luscious, sun kissed tomatoes for us this year. But I did learn a few lessons about growing tomatoes; Don't over crowd the plants, they need lots of space for light and growth. Get them started early or better yet start them off in a greenhouse. And you have to actually tie the tomato plant to the stakes, not just stab it into the ground next to the plant and hope they'll somehow, miraculously attach themselves. ahem.
Now these green guys, all 10 kilos of them, will sit on the kitchen floor, alongside boxes of patiently waiting quinces, hopefully some ripening, and if I can ever catch up, some cooked into chutney. Or perhaps, some dumped on the compost heap. To eventually be dug back into the ground to nourish a new crop, at the official start of next summer...
More catching up over here.