Posted 9/15/21

SPELLING BEA BY BEA WESTERBERG Now and Back Then We begin to see that the field crops are showing more signs of getting ready to be harvested. It probably will be a difficult year as some of the …

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Now and Back Then

We begin to see that the field crops are showing more signs of getting ready to be harvested. It probably will be a difficult year as some of the crops did not get enough water to reach their full term. Most of our lawns still look spring fresh like and I have heard the sound of lawnmowers humming away in the background. The green lawns somehow look a bit strange next to my ferns and other things that did not get the necessary water to finish growing to frost time. Oh dear, I did say that word didn't I….FROST. I will be extra kind and not say the word that usually is a little behind it. It will come soon enough even if we don't talk about it.

Its been harvest time for a lot of our garden products and tomatoes will keep producing (unless they are the roma types) until that time mentioned above. The important thing for everyone to remember about tomatoes is; DO NOT put them in the refrigerator. The refrigerator temps will break down the cell structure and make the tomatoes mushy.

If you are a tomato grower you may be interested in refreshing your growing information of these lovely gems of color and taste. It is getting along in the season and you may have a hard time letting go of the fresh, sweet goodies. Here are a few tips to gather the most of your crop before the above mentioned time comes.

A tomato plant will keep growing if the weather makes it happy and it will keep producing flowers. You can trim back the blossom stems to about where developed tomatoes are. This will make the plant stop thinking about sending up new flowers and work on ripening what it has. You can also trim or pick off some of the plant leaves so that the sun can get better contact with the ripening tomatoes. Keep an eye on the plants, they will try to produce more flowers as they do not give up easy.

Another method is to do “root pruning”. Use a sharp tool and put it down along side about 1/3 of the plant base several inches from the main stem. Go down about 8 inches to be sure you get all the roots in that area. The plant will kick into ripening the fruit it has on hand.

Yes, you can pick tomatoes that are just getting ripe and for sure you can pick half ripe ones and bring them indoors. Store them out of the sun and do not let them touch each other. I usually put down several layers of news paper so if they do get drippy, it does not make a mess. Check often to see if they are all okay and discard the ones that are showing signs of going down hill. Some years the pests get so bad you may consider harvesting not so ripe tomatoes to discourage those buggers. They like nice juicy ripe tomatoes and this way you will be taking away the choice food for them.

My mom used to wrap the unripe tomatoes in newspaper or with the paper peaches used to come wrapped in. She used both so I think since peach papers are no longer available, the newspaper will work. Here again you will need to check often and unwrap and then rewrap the tomatoes. She also used the crates the peaches came in to store the tomatoes and I am sure that is also ultra rare at this time.

Continuing the “back in the past” story, after the peach wrappers served their purpose with the peaches and the tomatoes, they were put back in the box and moved to the outhouse for use as one of the recently rare products known as toilet paper. Yes, indeed it was pure luxury and it was so much better than the Sears and Roebuck and Monkey Wards (my dads words). For the kids, last year's Christmas catalog continued the dreams of the pistol or cowgirl outfit. Cell phones light years away!