As the season has gone on and already seems to be coming to an end, we have learned even more lessons. Namely:
Lesson 9: An article I read told me to trim some of my tomato branches, starting with the little guy that sprouts in the ‘crotch’ of 2 branches. This is totally incorrect as the little crotch sprout (it’s funny to say, right?) is where the future blossoms and thus, tomatoes, will come from. One does need to trim excess greenage from the plants though as they take away growing power and water from the little growing fruits, so look for the giant leafy branches without a connection to fruit or flowers.
Lesson 10: If you see that a particular branch is heavily laden with fruit (in our case one of the Topsy Turveys with the most direct sun), keep an eye on how that fruit is dangling. One of our branches snapped with 8 or 9 large tomatoes hanging from it, as it was just too heavy to be supported. Had I been paying closer attention (or known?) I could have secured the branch and allowed the tomatoes to naturally ripen on the vine. Between that accident and a drunken intruder’s murder of a full plant off the side rail, we had quite a few little green guys evicted from their bushes too soon, but they are starting to ripen as they sit next to other ripe fruits.
Lesson 11: It’s funny – the tomato cans we used as planters have weathered elements very well, while the coffee cans used have gotten rusty on the outside and pretty ugly. I’ll be ditching most of the coffee cans after this season and continuing to save the whole tomato cans that we use for tomato soup.
Lesson 12: While the summer squash have gone totally crazy in the larger containers, they did not do nearly as well in the cans as hoped. The lack of root space inhibited fruit growth to the point where we only got 2 or 3 squash total from the cans as opposed 2-3 per week in the larger bins. Next year, no squash in cans.
Regardless it’s been a lot of fun and we’re really excited to work out more of the kinks next year to have a totally kick ass garden. Hooray!
We have been on a ‘tiny taco’ kick at our house. Small street style tacos with anything from halibut to ground turkey to the best pulled marinated pork you’ve ever had with rough chopped cilantro, a little cabbage, a noticeable lack of cheese (I am told the cheese part of those molten burritos we’re all so used to are not what you would call authentic), other random fixins’ and of course salsa. We have been making our own salsa and it’s so stinkin’ easy it hurts. After chatting with my friend Minerva, who runs her own handcrafted food biz with deep roots in Mexican culture and tastes, we figured that people are just lazy or honestly don’t know how easy (and cheap!) it is to make salsa. She is constantly asked to jar and sell the stuff. Why? Make it yourself! And why go to the store to pay $5 for some jar of processed junk that tastes like, well, processed stuff in a jar, when you can whip up your own batch of ‘can’t get fresher than this’ salsa for pennies.
- Chop one medium tomato – making sure to remove the seeds and guts
- Chop half an onion and throw in a bowl with the tomatoes
- Grab a few sprigs of fresh cilantro and chop, stems and all (cilantro is super cheap – .69c sometimes for a bunch and can be kept in the fridge covered in water for up to 3 weeks)
- Finely chop half a fresh, gutted, jalapeño (or more – depending on your preferred level of heat) and toss into the mix
- Squirt a little lemon juice and a little lime juice, throw a dash of salt and a dash of pepper and let your mixture sit for 5-10 minutes.
- Stuff face with tiny tacos topped with fresh salsa that cost $1.50 – max.