Last summer the most wonderful thing happened. We were hungry and broke per the usual, and one of the things we always eat, very simple salads. Short prep time, good for you, frugal. Anything can be a salad to me, and they can be as simple or as elaborate as you want. During the real frugal times, it could end up being as simple as spinach and grape tomatoes, oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Or even some iceberg and tri colored peppers. If we are feeling extra rich that week I might pick up a dollar bag of radishes, throw on some pumpkin seeds or raw cashews, maybe even some cucumber, and on my favorite weeks, I will just mash up an avocado on top.
So one staple for me though is grape or cherry tomatoes, I like to eat them by themselves, and I like to have them on most salads. They never go to waste, they never last long enough. Last summer I guess one either rolled out in the fridge and was found later, or was just a bit wrinkly and in the bottom of the carton and I wasn’t feeling it. My gardening skills are limited although I have been learning for so many years, and we have had very small crops on this property in the past. The weirdest thing is that the biggest most successful crops have been accidental! We left a pumpkin we got from a pumpkin patch on our front step until it got a big soggy then we set it in the yard to later add to the compost. It got a bit too soggy to pick up, and Nugget decided to pee in it every single day… So it stayed there. Well the next year I believe, that summer HUGE PUMPKIN PATCH SPRANG UP OUT OF NOWHERE! I hope I can find photo evidence for this post because it is necessary!!
So it was awesome, and I even ate some pumpkin greens. I actually had to go out there with a knife and hack it on the regular because it is a very small property and it took up at least half. So the next year it came back again and I was so excited and there were EVEN MORE pumpkins that year- but some awful squash bugs came in and shut down the party. I went crazy with DE and got rid of them, but it was too late. Lesson learned, DE on a regular basis. BUT now I know how easy it is to have an (almost) free pumpkin patch. I loved it so much it was such a cheerful surprise!
LAST SUMMER HOWEVER WAS AN EVEN BIGGER AND BETTER ONE.
I don’t remember composting any tomatoes, but after I had grown some garden beans and froze them the year before, I hadn’t had time to plant anything. I was sad I wouldn’t have much of a garden and that my pumpkin patch was shrinking before my eyes. WELL something started to take over my garden where I had thrown our compost all winter. I thought it was weeds and ignored it for a bit as I tend to do, but it was GRAPE TOMATOES!! Juicy bright beautiful, tangled vines of a million tomatoes! SO MANY TOMATOES AND
So I made a lil video of me harvesting about a gallon full, Im not sure if that is the correct way to measure them, but you will see in the video- AND THIS WAS ONLY FOR A FEW HOURS … ONE DAY. I did this every other day and always came in with a huge bucket! I dehydrated them and they were delicious and crunchy, they tasted like tomato soup. I ate tons fresh with no prep whatsoever, every day, and added them to salads every day. Some days I didn’t even eat breakfast or lunch I just went outside and chowed down right off the vine. I froze some, gave some away, and just ate. ate. ate. ate. ate.
I was so pleased and was sad when they started to wither. The vines were wild and completely uncontrolled so I had to ziptie them to stakes and make a tomato fort so I could access them easier. I had them all strapped down here and there. Before the tomatoes the raised bed did not have the stakes you will see, I bought those when I saw the vines taking over and I found myself crawling around being strangled by them out in the heat. So I went out and spend many long sweaty days strapping them to the stakes and to each other so I could access them in an easier way. I really liked how it turned out although I have no clue about growing tomatoes and probably did everything wrong and have no proper gardening techniques. I pretty much just do things in life the way it makes sense to me unless I come across what someone else is doing and think it makes more sense, then I adapt to that method or incorporate it into what I already know and do. So I organized the vines a bit and it was BEAUTIFUL! There were vines hanging over the driveway so every time I came to or from the car I had to have a snack.
Bobo was so excited because she is really greedy about food and loves to find things to eat. So she was running around all summer finding lil tomatoes who rolled away and eating them- it was hilarious sometimes because they would just roll out of her mouth while she was trying to eat them. So I am sure with her eating them and hiding them all over the garden, I will have many surprise plants this year and I CANT WAIT!!
Shes an unusual dog- she like crunchy fresh vegetables. Which is weird because she is OBSESSED with carbs. She cries any time I cut peppers, radishes, cucumbers, pickles, and she loved those tomatoes all summer long.
So I sped up a bunch of harvesting and tomato goodness on my youtube, please like, subscribe, comment, here and there, and honestly, can you believe it?! THAT MANY free tomatoes! WHAT AN ABUNDANT BLESSING! When you watch, just realize, that I was out there harvesting EVERY DAY or every other day, bucketsfull, and look how many are still there! I could never keep up! I hope I can keep gardening like this every year and add more and more so I can share more and more with others and make a nice extension to our sad food budget.
Have you ever had free food sprout up in your garden? tell me about it in the comments! 🙂
HAVE A GREAT DAY ENJOY!
Is it summer yet?