I have been trying to cut back on my tomato production. Last year I had 24 plants, this year only 12. I have discovered 6 is probably my magic number.
Tomato #1 died early due to something eating it.
Tomato #2-5 have become dog food. Yep, your heard me right. My dogs LOVE tomatoes, and this year I have been hearing more and more people fencing their gardens for this same reason.
Tomato #6 was supposed to be a wonderful little Sungold – a family favorite. However, it was mislabeled from the grower and turned out to be a tiny red cherry tomato. For whatever reason my family is not crazy about the red cherries.
My successful tomatoes, #7-12, consisted of Green Zebra, Black Krim and a sweet little yellow tomato from Happy Cat Farm (label was gone unfortunately). These six plants produced enough fruit for a batch of ketchup, a batch of spicy ketchup, bags of frozen tomatoes in the freezer for winter soups, and enough juicy goodness to create caprese salad on a regular basis. My seconds went to my 9 chickens, who chirp every time I walk by with the hopes of scoring a few tomatoes in their pens.
Sadly, the tomato crop is coming to an end. Like our trial gardens at the store, my plants have blight. The remaining fruits will be harvested this weekend, some green, some just turning color.
Finding that happy place in your vegetable garden is the fun, but tricky part. Growing just enough to feed your family, but not too much so that you are wasteful. Protecting your plants from pests and diseases, while allowing some predators to allow biodiversity to flourish. Complaining when the birds take bites of your tomatoes, and realizing that they need to eat too. Showing your child a swallowtail caterpillar on your carrots, followed by not harvesting the carrots for fear of depleting a food source for the caterpillars. A garden is continually in flux, and next year I will plant 12 tomato plants yet again. Maybe next year will be my year for tomato horn worm – a pest I haven’t been able to observe for several years. And when, or if, I see it – my camera will be ready.