Several weeks ago, a very hard rain came through our area giving a much needed drink to the very dry and thirsty earth. It cooled things off and made everything seem so fresh and new again. Rain has a way of making you feel good inside just to sit and watch it all day from the window. And that's just what we did, enjoying every minute of the beautiful day.
But when the rain subsided, I went to check on my garden (as I do many times a day), only to find that a tragedy had occurred! My 7 foot tall tomato plants were laying over on their side. These plants had grown so full and tall, they had long since grown past the tomato cage to which I was tying them. So when the wind came, they acted like a big umbrella - they caught the wind and blew over. And then, because of the thick, beautiful leaves, the rain that had been falling beautifully on them finally grew to be too heavy and weighted them down too much, adding to the plants demise.
Considering the fact that I have been very careful with my tomato plants this year, so as to actually get a good harvest, I nearly cried seeing this! I enlisted my husband's muscles to help me, because these plants were so heavy, I was not able to do anything about them on my own. Together, we stood the cages and plants upright, and I covered the roots as best as possible. The roots were so long, most did not pull up entirely. So I hoped with all hope that they would re-root and continue to grow until fall.
But about a week later, to my great dismay, the leaves began to yellow and my tomatoes started turning brown. I was crushed! All the work I had invested in these beauties was now coming to an end. But I still had loads of green tomatoes covering these plants that I certainly did not want to let go to waste. I new they would never ripen on these dying vines, so I made the decision. Britches, squirt, and I went out one morning and picked all the green tomatoes off the plants, brought them inside, and prepared them for what would be my first ever batch of green tomato relish! In the middle of my sadness, I still felt a little excitement. All would not be lost.
So for two days, I washed, cut, and prepared my tomatoes. After much hard work, I had my first batch of green tomato relish, which consisted of 7 quarts and 1 pint! I was thrilled!!
So now, I am left with the hard task of pulling up the old dead plants, cutting off all the strings I used to tie them to the cage, and feeding the left-overs to my goats. Then I begin pulling any other weeds, and finally, I'll take a shovel and some elbow grease and go turn under the dirt in each of my raised beds.
As will everything in life, all good things must come to an end. But the ending of this season just means getting prepared for the beginning of the next season. And I like the fall season as much as the spring/summer season. In the fall, I will plant peas, broccoli, spinach, and a mixture of lettuces. There is nothing so good as fresh salad straight from the garden - except maybe fresh tomatoes!