We’ve had snow, but the firewood is nearly in — 7 Comments

  1. Paste tomato: I live in a short season, cold, windy climate and grow the same paste tomatoes Jackie does but find them sometimes more juicy than I like. Indeterminates are difficult to get a reliable crop from where I live, but some have less juice and have done well – Opalka (75 days), Super Italian Paste (73 days), San Marzano Redorta (78 days), all from Tomato Growers Supply (I grow all my tomato plants from seed). Opalka and Super Italian Paste seem to be the driest and Opalka has the best flavor. I’ve had all of these varities grow unpruned to 8 ft and more. In my short season climate, I find I have to severely top prune the plants in June or July (depending on temperature) down to where the tomatoes have set, and keep new growth pruned. I remove all blossoms about the same time, as they cannot mature in the remaining growing days and are a drain on the plant’s energy. I also prune to one stem early in the season. The other paste type tomato I’ve grown from seed is Margherita, which is determinate, but I think it’s better used fresh or dried than in sauce. Many heirloom tomatoes are extremely susceptible to diseases of all kinds. If you do have early blight, pruning and mulching can eliminate it. Fungus splashes up from the soil and blows in on the wet plant leaves. As the plant grows, I keep all the bottom leaves and stems pruned off, creating a bare stem for at least 12 inches (or enough height to keep your remaining leaves off the ground), and also mulch your plants. That keeps the various types of tomato fungus off your plant leaves. If you prune regularly there won’t be blossoms or tomatoes on those lower stems, but if you do get some, prune the stems off anyway. It will save the rest of your crop. Tomatoes with bare lower stems look like small trees, and I often have people ask me what those bushy little trees are. When you prune, remember to prune dry plants and keep your hands and pruners clean so you don’t spread any fungus that may be on the leaves. I bag the leaves as I prune. Apply water at ground level, not from above.

  2. Copra onion: seeds are available from many garden seed sources. Copra is a hybrid onion. If you don’t have space to start the seeds indoors, many companies sell bunches of Copra plants (50 – 75 in a bunch depending on the company) for $10 to $13. This is a lot more expensive than a packet of seed, but it will get you a winter supply of onions. Most grower information I’ve read says that for a long day winter keeper onion like Copra, sets are not the way to get a supply of onions because the sets so often do not bulb up due to weather and growing conditions. That’s been my experience too. For another winter keeper, check into multiplier onions, aka potato onions (this is not a walking or Egyptian onion). I’ve grown them and love them, but there are shipping restrictions, depending on the state you live in.

  3. Jackie
    I used to split with my husband until my 5th mon of pregnancy, when the stomach muscles just wouldn’t let me do it. Even stacking is a zen thing also…just nice being outside enjoying nature. As for canning, it is also a good feeling having it all stored for the winter time. By the way, I am having a hard time making the leap from plain old water bath canning to pressure canning…I think it is mental. Right now, I do alot of freezing of pumpkin puree, beets, broccoli, etc Howver, my large upright freezer is jam packed…just thinking it might be time to move to pressure canning for some things, but not sure. Any incentives or inspirations you can provide might help. Wished I had some one like you I could chat with here in St. Paul that is of your caliber.
    Thanks again, Lisa

  4. LIsa,
    Thanks for your tips. It really isn’t my job to stack wood, but I really love to stack it! It’s kind of like canning for me; putting up all of that beautiful, dry, split wood for winter. It’s security all piled up. LOVE IT!!! I help split too, and really like doing that, too!


  5. About the wasp problem..Billy the Exterminator( interesting show on TV and he only likes to use natural products or relocate the pest animal)….well, he uses Pyrethium products and it plains knocks them out. The red wasps are a big problem in Lousiana,too where he works. We get our spray at local feed store.

  6. About the wasps, we have had good luck with using mothballs to keep wasps away. Don’t know if it will get them out but it will keep them from coming back.

  7. Jackie,

    Just read your response to the french fry question, and this is what I have done. I peel and slice the potatoes, blanch 2-3min (depending on size), cool in icebath, drain, and freeze on sprayed cookie sheet, then transfer to bag. When we have fries, I either pop them into the 450F oven, or in hot oil. Don’t know which is easier, but the fries sure taste good. Also for the girls who live in Minneapolis, sometimes I believe over thinking kills a garden. I live in S. Paul and was able to can over 2 batches of Salsa, tons of sauce and whole tomatoes, along with getting +75 lbs of potatoes, and just recently pulling out my broccoli. We were able to freeze back beets, beans, peas and now working on pumpkin… all grown in our small yard. If you want, you can send them my email, if they want to chat and get some ideas, but this year, at least for us, was a tremendous growing year… didn’t think I would still be freezing and canning into November. As for you, good job with stacking the wood! I wonder why it is always the woman’s job to stack? I have the same position, since we also heat by wood. Thanks for the wonderful reading and advice–look forward to all your new posts.

    Lisa Basso, St. Paul, MN