growing tomatoes in a Northern climate : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

I was reading in Countryside today about us Northerners not being able to get their tomatoes to ripen on the vine. Since I learned this method, I haven't had any problems. I am going to start my seed tomorrow, it has snowed here the last 2 days after a false start on spring, but that't March for you. Anyway, the tomatoes. Whether you buy them started in cube paks or grow your own from seeds, pot them up in size as they grow along, don't let them get potbound. Harden them off & befor planting out mix a bucket of water with a handful of epsom salts & water in real good. Plant & stand back, they really get a boost from this mineral water treatment.

-- Brenda Reise (, March 29, 2000


You and other Northern growers might benefit from such products as "Wall-O-Waters" or "Saylor Caps." Wall-O-Waters are clear plastic and are like 1 inch standing tubes of water surrounding the plant. The top is open. They work by the water absorbing solar energy during the day, and radiating the heat to the plant at night during colder temperatures. The Saylor Cap is similar except that it uses a wire frame and has plastic over the top of the frame, therefore completely enclosing the plant like a mini greenhouse. It is said that transplants can be made up to six weeks earlier than normal. I have not tried either system, but would opt for the more expensive Saylor Cap.

-- greenbeanman (, March 29, 2000.

We live only about 50-60 miles from the canadian border, and we get ripe tomatoes every year with no trouble or fancy treatment (cloches,etc) It is important to plant them by memorial day,cover them if it looks like frost in the spring, and when they are covered in green tomatoes and the fall frost is 2-3 weeks away,prune the plants HARD! Take off all the growing tips, suckers,and some of the leaves if they are shading the fruit. Of course some varieties are better suited to our climate than others, but we grow brandywine almost every year and it ripens outside.

-- Rebekah (, March 30, 2000.

Brenda, where are you ? We are about 20 min from Canada , and are crops are pretty good.Get some good old manure , make sure your soil is good.Start your plants indoors or buy them started.If money allows how about a small green house ? We did this with a few plants last year to extend are season.It could be done with old windows , did cs have a story about this ?

-- Patty Gamble (, March 30, 2000.

Surprise! I live in Canada, about 20 min from the US by road and about 10 min on foot over fields and through streams:) We had a wealth of tomatoes this past Summer. I've also got a question about tomato sauce. I really like to put our tomatoes to use and make tomato sauce and can it, but it always tastes acidic or something. I don't know what it is. Any homemade tomato sauce or salsa I've had, ahs this funny taste to it. It makes me feel nauseous! Any thoughts on how to get rid or prevent this? Maybe its inevitable:o(

-- Abigail F. (, March 30, 2000.

What type of pans are you using while canning ? How about spoons ?All I do to can my tomatoes is wash, take the stems off,and cut into half or quarters.I cook them down for several hours , sometimes I season them . After this into the jars they go.Hope you find out why ,because it is nice to have that fresh flavor in winter .

-- Patty Gamble (, March 30, 2000.

Abigail, maybe try a little sugar or other sweetening in your sauces & salsas. Most of the authentic Italian recipes call for it, to cut the acidity. Jean

-- Jean (, March 30, 2000.

The last time I saw "Wall-O-Waters" they were made of green plastic. Mine are so old they are clear colorless plastic. When I took Master Gardener training, one of the instructors mentioned never using green over plants as it filtered the colors of light that the plant needed for growth. He said that is why we see plants as green. It is the only color they reflect while absorbiing the other colors of the spectrum. A little off the subject but I hope it helps.

-- marilyn (, March 30, 2000.

Hi again, I live about 3 hours north east of Toronto, which is the banana belt of Ontario. I don't plant out until the first of June & some years have had to cover my plants even then. First frost can be expected in the first week of Sept. The last couple of years though have been exceptional for growing, global warming maybe. But I won't let down my guard just yet.

-- Brenda Reise (, March 30, 2000.

Hello, tomato lovers! The hint about stripping the plants of leaves a couple of weeks before frost is excellent, and it works. The plant thinks "Ohmigod! There's been a tornado or something and I'm naked, but my babies are still OK. But next years generation depends upon the seeds in my still green babies. I've got to ripen them NOW!" At least, that's what I think I heard them think! Physiologically, though, that's what happens. Of course, you can also pick some nearly green ones and wrap them in newspaper, and they will ripen. Brenda - if you will e-mail me directly, I will send you some seeds that are VERY early. It is "Extra Early Advance" that I (a dedicated seed saver) got from a northern Maine farm and which commonly has yellow shoulders, but is quite tasty. I will also give you (or anyone else) my "system" for tomatoes, which should help as well, but too lengthy to post here. Abigail - You don't say what variety of tomato you are turning into sauce, but some aren't well suited. I'll send you seed, too, if you wish, of my favorite sauce tomatoes. I generally put up @ 30-35 jars of sauce each year, but I add all my spices, herbs and veggies before I can. I make "spaghetti sauce", and add meat later when we add to the sauce on the day spaghetti is for supper. My "general" recipe is yours if you want. I say general because I've never made it the same way twice - that's the way I cook! One of my "secrets" is that I don't use sugar, but I do add apples to my sauce. (End o' secret). And I think my friend sent you some info on gluten free ideas. Hope it helped. Good luck!


-- Brad (, March 30, 2000.

Brad I'm not sure what variety of tomatoes they were<:) What variety is your tomato sauce favourite? Your recipe would be greatly appreciated. I use an enormous stainless steel pot and wooden spoons. I have a Victorio Strainer, which I use for processing the tomatoes. I'll try the sugar idea. My Mom puts sugar and vinegar in the sauce. Thanks for all your help, everyone!

-- AbigailF. (, March 30, 2000.

To make tomato sauce; put the tomatoes through a juicer, then pour the juice into gallon jars, let it set until it separates, pullp will be on top, pour off (if you have room in your freezer, you can keep the tomato water for soup), add spices,etc., can

-- Cindy (, April 01, 2000.

Grow great tomatoes/peppers; Add ONE level teaspoon of epsom salts to the planting hole and mix in well.We grow 250 tomatoes and 100 peppers from seed.

-- farmerjoe (, April 03, 2000.

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