|Pattypan squash, beets, kale, basil, and Tomatoes!|
Is there anything better from the garden than a summer tomato? During the rest of the year I think about them every time I am in the market, every time I eat a salad, every time I am served the cardboard tomatoes that we suffer through from October through July. It is finally August, and August is for tomatoes.
Here in the Adirondacks it is difficult at best to raise garden vegetables. The season is short, especially at higher elevations. Planting anything other than peas before the first week of June invites trouble. Frosts are the norm in May, and a foot of snow is not unheard of. The amount of daily sun light in the northeast compounds the problem, leaving gardeners to search for hardy varieties of fast growing veggies. It also helps if they have a sense of humor. This year I planted six different varieties of tomatoes, in hopes of finding one or two that were up to the task. I started the plants “Indian style” – or at least that’s what I read somewhere – with a fish planted under each plant as a “built in” fertilizer. As luck would have it, the bluegills are up near the shore line spawning during the first week of June, and six sacrificed themselves for my garden. I buried one beneath each plant. The next morning I noticed six holes dug neatly down the side of each plant, and a paw swipe showing exactly where I had buried each fish. The plants were untouched; just the fish had been stolen. My trail camera revealed the culprit – the resident red fox had stolen a meal for her kits.
|Red fox in the garden – stealing my “fertilizer”.|
Not an auspicious start for the garden. The rest of the story reads better. I did indeed have two varieties that grew head and shoulders above the rest of the plants – a Garden Leader – Tasty Yellow Cherry is full of ripe orange fruit, and a Bush Early Girl that we purchased at Garden Time in Glens Falls is the most productive of all.
Last weekend Mary also found some heirloom varieties at the farmers markets, so we were faced with the happy dilemma of too many tomatoes. Her favorite solution to that predicament is to roast some up on sheet pans with a spritz of sea salt – 275F for two or three hours, depending upon the thickness of the slices. Store them in a bowl with a good extra virgin olive oil and you have the tastiest bruschetta topping that your garden will produce (until next August.) They will last for a few weeks in the refrigerator and get better with age.