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Dealing with sprawl

 One of the things I'm vowing to do differently next year is deal with the tomatoes in a neater, more contained way. I've done the 6x6" wire fencing approach, and that works okay. I tried to stake them this year, and that apparently takes much more effort than I put in. I don't know which approach I'll use next year -- maybe a combination, depending on the type of tomato and whether I mean to pick them a bunch at a time (like paste tomatoes) or singly (like slicing).

No matter which support system I choose, it's going to succeed or not depending on how much effort I put into it, I suspect. Things like proper spacing, clipping blighted leaves, and nipping back overwhelming growth for better air circulation actually count if healthy tomatoes with a neater aspect are desired.

I do know I won't allow any volunteers next year, as they turned out to be mostly uninspired cherry tomatoes. I'm not certain I'll grow cherries, at all. Sungolds are nice, but a little goes a long way, for me. I'm really a cooked tomato kind of gal, caprese salad notwithstanding.

As I was searching for those links, I was surprised to see that I'd put these tomatoes out in April. Can it really be that we have over seven months of tomato growth? Wild. I do grow, however, heartily sick of them, especially when they look as neglected as mine did.

So yesterday was the last day for tomatoes. Ellie and I pulled all the vines (she pulled when my elbow began complaining) and picked through the plants for any leftover tomatoes.

There were a lot:

They got divided into three piles: green, to go to my friend Vera to make into pickles (we ate this year's jar at Thanksgiving and maybe I ate a lot last night while I was doing dishes); a pile of red-maybe-will-ripen-on-the-window for sauce; and a pile of "yuck!" for the chickens.

This guy made me yell out loud, but the chickens will appreciate a tasty snack.


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