I bought a house this year, as handicap accessible apartments were impossible to come by in my budget range in my area. And yes, it really is cheaper to pay a mortgage, home owners insurance, flood insurance, and mortgage insurance than it was to rent a handicap accessible apartment. Pathetic, but true. A bit of a statement on the state of things in our world, but that’s not the point of this post.
Anyways, my adorable little house came with some convenient raised beds already in the back yard. They had ornamental grasses in them, but in this grand scheme in my head, I envisioned veggies growing there instead. So I wrangled up my aunt and cousins, they removed the grasses for me, then, *they mixed in compost from my aunts garden*. Stars around the compost bit, because this becomes very important down the road. I wound up planting 4 adorable little Roma tomato plants, since I make pretty awesome pizza sauce, if I must say so myself, and wanted to can some. Other things were also planted, but they are less important in this instance.
Turns out that compost? It’s tomato crack. Or speed. Or steroids. We’re not really sure. All I know is I’m living in the midst of a scene from the awesome, campy, C-grade 1978 horror flick Attack of the Killer Tomatoes. (If you haven’t seen it, watch it. It’s hysterical.) The one plant now tops 11’ tall. Yep, *11 feet*. I had to have my dad make me some custom 8’ tall spikes for my garden to tie the tops of the plants to. These 4 little plants? Are now generating about 20-40 ripe tomatoes per day. I cored, blanched, and peeled about 200 tomatoes last night, tonight is juicing, dicing, and making pizza sauce to can. I plan on trading jars of this stuff all year for chores, etc, around my house. The rewards will be worth it, though- pizza sauce made from organically grown tomatoes, onions, and basil, canned diced and whole organic tomatoes for soups and stews all winter, etc. I’m saving a ton of money already on grocery bills and will end up with a setup at the end of the year of drying herbs and canning like a loon to do lots of both in the future for next to no additional money. Next year, I expect to do all my canning for under $30 and have a year + supply of tomatoes, herbs, sauces, and food left for barter. This year, it’s cost me closer to $100 to pull it all off since I needed the proper canning jar grips, funnels, lids, etc. Still way cheaper.
For your viewing enjoyment, 5 days worth of tomato harvesting: