Organic gardening update-harvesting the tomatoes

Growing organic tomatoes from seed has been an emotional roller coaster but we think that we now have the knowledge to make an even better attempt at growing tomatoes next year. Even so we are pleased to say that we have grown a variety of tomatoes successfully. 

We initially used an organic all-purpose fertiliser. Our tomato plants seemed 'very happy' on this, producing an abundance of leaves but no fruit. They only produced fruit when we stopped 'feeding' them. In hindsight it would have been better to use an organic tomato fertiliser based on seaweed which would not have prevented fruits forming.  You can also use epsom salts as a fertiliser.

Tomato plants also need quite an aggressive prune of side shoots and leaves so that they will put all their energies into producing fruit.  You also need to trim away any leaves that overhang the fruits so that the fruits will not go mouldy.  

It is interesting that tomatoes were once thought to be poisonous - well the tomato plant is of the nightshade family! Tomatoes are in fact a rich source of lycopene, beta-carotene and lutein as well as vitamins A, C and E, all of which are antioxidants. These antioxidants are linked with reduced rates of cardiovascular disease and cancer, especially prostrate cancer.

Tomatoes are wonderful enjoyed in a salad. If you have a glut of tomatoes however you may want to make this relish. Delicious with vegan burgers such as 'Meatless Monday: Bean' Burger

Homemade tomato relish
Serves 4 

1 red onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 stick celery, sliced into small pieces
1 tsp rapeseed oil
160g tomatoes, chopped 
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp stevia (for a less tangy relish)
2 tbsp cider vinegar

Fry the onion in the oil until soft. Add the tomatoes, celery, mustard seed, cider vinegar and stevia if using. Reduce the heat and continue to cook for a further 20 minutes. Allow to cool. You could also add chilli flakes if you like a spicy relish.

You may also wish to read the other organic gardening posts from this year:-

'It's spring, the organic fruit and vegetable year begins!' -

'Organic gardening - The winter vegetable garden' 

Janet x 

Recipe Copyright © 2015 40plusandalliswell

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