The Food Sustainability Project: The Results and a Fall Garden

GreenTomatoes640

It’s been awhile since I posted how the project was doing.  And that’s a good thing because I’ve been too busy to write about it!  The results of my raised hoop bed?  4 grocery bags of heirloom tomatoes and 9 butternut squash!

I planted 2 heirloom varieties of tomatoes: Mortgage lifter and Purple Pudens.  Of the two, Mortgage Lifter was the most prolific.  And while both were beautiful looking tomatoes with lovely dimples surrounding the top, the Purple Pudens were the prettiest for color and contour.  Both yielded some fairly large meaty and juicy tomatoes which proved to be excellent eating out of hand and next to some fresh eggs from my hens for breakfast!  I’ve also used them in a homemade spaghetti sauce and in homemade tomato soup so far.  Right now, I’m in the middle of processing some to freeze for winter use.  And I’m learning how to save the seeds.

The butternut squash, I used a different technique this year: I planted in seed mounds as was suggested from another source.

There were only 2 drawbacks to this growing season, one of which I caused myself and the other seem to happen to a number of mid-west growers.  The first drawback is that I got a lot of over vining.  This was the result of putting too much fertilizer on at the beginning.  I purchased (and used) 6 bags (just to be sure) on top of the soil conditioning I had done at the beginning of the season.  I was to learn that delaying the application of the extra fertilizer would have prevented the over-vining and may have even yielded bigger fruit, although my fruit was good size anyway.  The second drawback was a late ripening of the fruit.  Several of my friends across the midwest noticed this, so we all got our fair share of green tomatoes!   But that I learned was not a big problem, they ripen inside just fine and you can even delay that process in order to have ripe tomatoes throughout the winter if you have a cool basement or cellar of 50 degrees.  But if you don’t need that (or don’t have the patience for it) I’ve included a nice green tomato bread recipe at the bottom of this post.  I’ll be making my own tonight, hopefully and freezing some…that is if I don’t wind up having to eat it!

The Butternut squash is still curing on the vine and awaiting October when I will pick them for winter storage.

So now the vines are cut away for the compost pile and the garden is bare, right?  Nope! I’ve already planted a fall garden of carrots, beets, garlic and onions!  and when I can afford some more seeds, hopefully some cabbage and broccoli all under the plastic of my hoop house.  As of today, the beets have their first set of leaves, the carrots have begun to sprout and both the garlic and the onions are showing nice green spears poking up through the dirt.  I hope to have a full crop to post back about after the fall and in the spring.

UPDATE: 9/28/2014

The Green Tomato Bread is a success!  I had my doubts about the taste but its great!  I made one loaf and used a tube pan for the rest of the batter and it baked evenly resulting in a beautiful tube bread that can be iced for a nice tea.  Please note that it tells you to finely chop the green tomatoes.  I highly recommend doing it that way rather than trying to use a grater or food processor.  You don’t want a lot of juice in this recipe.  All of the tomatoes used in this recipe were home grown and picked in Indiana!

Green Tomato Bread (click for full recipe)

Ingredients

Original recipe makes 2 9×5-inch loaves
2 cups finely diced green tomatoes
2 cups white sugar
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts
1 cup canola oil
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder

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