Perfect Roma Tomatoes. Every Time.

I have to give a shout out to T&T Seeds of Winnipeg for their amazing Roma tomato called Momma Mia. It’s been a staple in my garden for years, producing beautiful paste tomatoes that I love to make into sauce for those bland winter months. The quantity of fruit can’t be beaten, and I’ve never had any issues with the health and virility of the plants. Highly recommended.

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Tomato Wars

Mamma Mia Tomatoes

Mamma Mia Tomatoes

This year I am pitting three of my Roma tomato plants against each other in a head-to-head competition.

Having read about the benefits of fish heads for tomato plants, I thought I’d give them a small scale (pardon the pun) trial in my garden. I’m also a big fan of worm castings as fertilizer, so I got my hands on some nice fresh worm poop to use as well.

Here’s what I did:

I dug three equally deep holes and planted three of my Mamma Mia tomatoes which I started from seed. In one hole I put two fresh trout heads, four crushed egg shells, six crushed baby aspirin and a small scoop of bone meal. In the second hole I put about a cup of vermicompost. In the last hole I put a small scoop of standard 10-52-10 fertilizer.

Fish heads, egg shells, bone meal and aspirin

Fish heads, egg shells, bone meal and aspirin

Worm castings

Worm castings

 

Standard fertilizer

Standard fertilizer

Let the games begin! I’ll keep you posted.

Salsa: Summer in a Mason Jar

Canned and Ready for Eating

Salsa is one of my favorite things to eat during the long months of winter. It reminds me of all the good things I grew over the summer, and combines all of my favorite flavors. I love the zest of garlic, the scent of cilantro, the punch of the hot peppers.

I made my salsa as soon as I had 3kg of Roma tomatoes, even though I’m likely to get a bunch more in the coming weeks. Those will be for making tomato sauce, another favorite.

Here’s my salsa recipe (adapted from this recipe):

Garden Salsa

Blanch, peel and core 3 kg Roma tomatoes. Chop them coarsely then layer with a sprinkling of pickling salt in a colander over a pot. Let them sit overnight in a cool place, allowing much of the liquid to drain.

The next morning, start chopping. You can use a food processor if you like, but I prefer to chop by hand to get a chunkier salsa (with the exception of the peppers – those I use the food processor for).

Including the tomatoes, chop and add to a stock pot:

3 medium onions

1 large head garlic

200 g Serrano peppers

1 medium green pepper

1/2 medium red pepper

3/4 bunch cilantro

1/8 C cumin seed, ground

1/2 can (3 oz) tomato paste

Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes. It’s now ready to can. When canning, add 1 tbsp lime juice to the bottom of each 250 ml jar or 2 tbsp to a 500 ml jar. This increases the acidity and makes for safer water bath canning of tomatoes. Please refer to another website such as this for canning instructions.

Makes 2 liters of salsa.

Making Salsa