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Subject:  Re: First Lettuce Date:  5/27/2013  8:31 AM
Author:  voelkels Number:  874471 of 903877

I'm trying to figure out how to stake out tomato plants. Any ideas are welcome.

My father made some tomato cages out of galvanized fence wire (the rectangular wire pattern not the chicken wire fencing) that someone gave him a roll of back in 1975 or 74 in New Jersey. My brother is still using them for his tomato plants. My father took 10-foot length of the fencing, bent it into a cylinder, and wired it in place. He then cut 4 or 3.5-inch holes in spots around the cylinder to reach in and pick the ripe tomatoes. In the spring, he would plant the tomato plant, set the “cage” over it and steak the cage down using some old galvanized water pipe & wire.

I'm thinking my primary use of any tomatos would be to make and can sauce. Is that worthwhile? How is that likely to compare with commercially canned sauce?

My mother used to can the tomatoes but, considering the time, price of canning lids and cost of energy now-a-daze, its probably not really cost effective. If you have the plum tomatoes, like the Roma or San Marzano, it may not be too bad but unless you have long hot days they will not get as sweet as the commercially produced tomatoes & final sauce. I usually pick my tomatoes before they are fully ripe (otherwise the birds peck them causing them to rot), bring them in and ripen them on the counter. I’ll scald them in boiling water, slice off the stem end, squeeze out most of the seeds, skin them and freeze them in zipper-top bags. Later, when I’m cookin & need 4 or 3 tomatoes, I’ll take them out of the bag, re-close it and put the rest back in the freezer.

C.J.V. - used the last of my frozen tomatoes in April for chicken-tortilla soup, me
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