Garden Tips and More

Tomato Sauce Gardeners, Issue #003 -- Planting and Growing in June

Tomato Sauce Gardeners brings you timely garden tips, recipes and featured tomato varieties to help you grow a healthy, bountiful tomato sauce garden and cook up delicious treats from your harvest.

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Issue #003, June 2009

Welcome to Summer Gardening!

This Ezine is all about getting your sauce tomato plants in the ground and growing!


Hopefully you have acquired some sauce tomato plants either by starting them yourself or getting them from a reliable grower. When selecting plants, remember to look for strong, thick stems, green leaves, and good posture (no drooping). Also remember to differentiate between determinate and indeterminate plant types so you will know what to expect as they grow.

Select a sunny location for your sauce garden and let's get started. Click here for info and step-by-step planting directions.

Including --Hardening-off or acclimating plants to the outdoors --

For more info on planting trench-style, click here.

In the Garden: Bed Preparation

Now is the time to cover your garden beds in thick, clear plastic. This will warm up the soil so when you are ready to plant in a couple of months, the soil in the covered bed will be several degrees warmer than uncovered soil would be. Click here for more info on preparing tomato garden beds.

This is also the time to create any new tomato sauce garden beds in your yard. We just completed an additional covered tomato sauce garden that contains two beds and covered it in plastic so it is all ready for planting. Click here for info on building raised tomato garden beds.

This month's featured sauce tomato: Saucy

This is an heirloom, open-pollinated sauce tomato seed from Irish Eyes Seed Company, based in Ellensburg, Washington. Irish Eyes are "short season seeds for an early harvest." The Saucy variety is a determinate bush-type tomato plant. Determinate also means that the plant will fruit and ripen all at once and then it's done. The seed packet says 65 days till harvest. More information includes, "heavy yielding, plum-shaped, 2-3 oz. red sauce tomato. Fruits are meaty and borne in clusters of 5-10 fruits. Fruit set is concentrated to one picking, and fruit pulls off the plant easily when ripe. Perfect for a big salsa or ketchup canning session. Flavor is very good both fresh and processed. Strong plant holds fruit well off the ground. Bred by Dr. James Baggett, Oregon State University, from a cross of Santiam X Roma." Personally, I prefer to grow mostly indeterminate tomatoes to get the most sauce in my freezer before winter, but I also like to grow a few determinate, short-season plants in order to get my tomato sauce "fix" as quickly as possible! This will be my first year growing this version of Saucy. In the past, I grew a Territorial Seed Company version also named Saucey (but with an "e") and it was actually our favorite fresh-eating sauce tomato in our family taste test. Now that I am focussed on growing heirloom varieties, I am very excited to try this one out.

April Recipe: Roasted Tomato Puree

If you are new to growing tomato sauce, it's possible that you have not yet tasted the wonder of roasted tomato puree. Therefore, I recommend that you try my recipe for creating this gourmet treat using tomatoes from the store right now. Of course the taste will not even come close to matching the exquisite flavor of homegrown tomatoes from your garden. However, I'm pretty sure that it will inspire you even more to grow your own or at least locate a local farmer's market this summer. Plus you will experience how easy it is to roast up a batch of puree for your favorite recipes. For step by step instructions along with photos, click here.

Comments? Ideas? Feedback? I'd love to hear from you. Just reply to this e-zine and tell me what you think!

See you next month!

Robin Wyll