Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tomatoes and Spinach

As you saw in Harvest Monday my tomatoes gave me a lot. So on Monday I canned. And canned. And canned. 18 pints. My back hurt after that. I did both sauce and chopped tomatoes. I should have done the chopped tomatoes today, but I really wanted to get them off my counter.

I was thinking the tomatoes are out gassing something that irritates my lungs. I have asthma and was doing fine before the massive line of tomatoes on my counter. Though it is probably the ragweed starting to bloom. But for now I'm keeping the mass of my tomatoes down.

And what I do have is being kept in air tight containers. I let them breath once a day outside. It has helped a lot, but not totally gotten rid of the issue. So I'm guessing ragweed and tomatoes were an issue. Interestingly enough the cooking tomatoes don't bother me. It is whatever they put out when they ripen that is irritating.

This morning I picked some more tomatoes. Many were cracking due to the rain. I picked all that were in the section closest to the path. Most were turning already. Just a couple were still green. And I got rid of all of the Heinz no matter what bed it was in. They had mostly all turned. So I ripped out 12 plants and have 5 left in this bed and 4 (mostly cherries) in another bed. This bed will be my spinach bed this fall. I planted up the empty section. I may or may not plant up the rest this fall. I may wait for it to be the spring spinach. But then again I may just make it some overwintered spinach. I'll figure it out later.

I put in three types. Gigante D'Inverno (2 rows), Olympia (three rows), and Space (two rows). I'm hoping they can all produce this fall and over winter. Especially the first one since it has winter in its name.


  1. Do you have an air purifier? I swear by my Honeywell Quiet Care Air Cleaner Model 17005. It is a bit noisy, so I run it in the next room at night, or turn it on when I leave the house and off when I return.

  2. Awesome picture of canned tomatoes. You really put your heart and soul into stuff and I can tell the detail you put into it. Custom labels for your jars, nice!

  3. 18pints of canned tomatoes...oh boy do I have a bad case of tomato envy! can't wait to see how the spinach does!

  4. I have to scrub my hands and arms after working in tomato plants or I break out in a rash. It wouldn't surprise me if your asthma is irritated by tomatoes ripening.

  5. Daphne, thats a shitload of tomatoes! How many of each variety are growing. I want to copy you for next year!!! My tomatoes are struggling with the septoria spotty disease. Not enough to can- will have to get a bunch from BUSA Farms to can this year.

  6. Sadly, I'm an allergy "mom-pert". Tomatoes are indeed relatives of ragweed, so if you have trouble with ragweed, you'll likley have trouble with tomatoes. I find that if I miss 1 day of my Flonase, the tomatoes about make me want to chop my nose off!!! Taking daily Zyrtec and Flonase are what makes tomato/ragweed season bearable for me.

    I totally hear ya on the sore back after a long day of canning!!! Those pints you canned are pretty. =)

  7. Such a drag, that a gardener like you should suffer from asthma as a result of gardening. I'm sorry to hear that.

    You mentioned overwintered spinach. We've never done that here. How do you do it?

  8. Thanks goodness I don't have a tomato allergy! You have my sympathy though: I am very allergic to the leaves of Coriander, and the smell of them repulses me because of that.

  9. Karen Anne, yes I have an air purifier, but I've been keeping the windows open (canning is hot). So they really aren't effective if I keep letting allergens into the house. In the past I've always kept them open all season long, but I may have to close them up. I'll be so sad.

    Kris, lol yes custom labels. I have a 1 1/2' hole punch and I print them on half sheet label paper.

    Mrs. Pickles. I have hit the amount I need to tide me over till next year. The rest I'll make into things.

    Grafix Muse, I do too. I don't get much of one, but I will get a rash from the tomato plants if I don't wash up when I come in. I didn't get one yesterday from pulling though. I knew to wash. I usually get it if I pick tomatoes and don't do it. When I'm covered I'm smart about it, but when I just have a little I don't think much about it.

    Diane B, Well I was growing 3 Cherokee Purple, 2 Purple Calibash, 3 Market Miracle, 2 Amish Paste, 8 Heinz, 1 Sungold, 1 Sungold F4, 1 Black Cherry. But now I only have 1 Cherokee Purple, 2 Market Miracles, 2 Amish Paste, 1 Purple Calibash, and the three cherries. I shared a CSA from Busa Farms one year. I always felts sad for their fields. It was so weedy. I had this urge when I was picking tomatoes to weed them. lol

    Dorothy, are they? So sad. It might well be what is causing me problems now. I don't have any issues eating them, but I suppose I mostly eat them cooked. I do eat a good handful raw every week during the season though. And yea I'm on a good handful of drugs. Including your two.

    Jody, I sow it usually right at the beginning of September. It has time to germinate and be small but not large enough to pick really. I cover it with a row cover some years. Some years I just let it be. So far here (in zone 6) it has always lived over the winter protected or not.

    Mark, Asthmatics are often told not to eat much coriander or cilantro. I've been told that allergy can induce asthma in people who don't even have it if you are allergic. I eat it anyway. I hope I never develop that allergy. I love both herbs too much.

  10. You know what those jars of tomatoes would be really good for:

    stocking stuffers!

    No one would _ever_ imagine waking up, Xmas morning, to a jar of delicious homemade canned tomatoes :).

  11. Those jars of canned tomatoes and sauce are so pretty. I know your back was hurting by the end of it but that was a nice day's work!

    The spinach bed all freshly planted up holds so much promise of more good things to come when everything else is winding down or dieing.

  12. Wow, 18 pints in one day. That must have been a tiring day!

  13. I'm dubious about the similarity between ragweed and tomato. Botanically, they're pretty distant. However, I do know (from bitter personal experience) that members of the nightshade family are common allergens. I bought a house, planted my vegetable garden, and developed a violent life-threatening allergy to the entire clan. I had horrible rashes on my arms from touching tomato plants. Let me tell you, it's hard to avoid the nightshades.