While I love growing carrots in my garden, I’ve also been tending to other vegetables in the same fashion. Last year I thought I’d have a go at self sufficiency because I enjoy organic food and healthy food ideas. So I attempted to grow my own tomatoes from seed. I started them off on the windowsill and planted about 36 seeds. I started off with a large batch because after all, you always get some that don’t quite make it to the next stage, right?
Growing Tomatoes At Home
Well these were hardy things. They all sprouted, they all grew, they all got transferred to the garden and they all carried on growing. I got troughs to put the plants in, sticks to hold them up with, and gray hairs from worrying about constantly keeping up with taking care of them.
In short we were overrun with tomatoes last year. Now bear in mind that this was my first attempt at growing them. I didn’t expect to be so successful. But I was, and we ended up with three different types of tomatoes altogether.
The good thing was that they kept ripening at different times so at least we didn’t get hundreds all ready at the same time. But there was still the problem of what to do with them all.
I got very good at sneaking tomatoes into virtually every meal. I grew cherry tomatoes which are great for throwing into a tossed salad just as they are, or having on the side with a sandwich. Then I’d use the normal size tomatoes, slice them, and add them in sandwiches and on toast with things like sardines. And the big beefsteak tomatoes –- yes even they managed to grow to a decent size -– were sensational as well. We’d have them grilled with gammon and I even had a go at making my own tomato sauce.
But perhaps, most importantly in among all these mounds of tomatoes, was a lesson to be learned. And since it is now that time of year when I need to be thinking about planting my seedlings and seeds once again, it is a lesson I am only just starting to learn.
This time I am going to branch out. I am going to limit my tomatoes to one trough. I ended up with about six or seven troughs of these things last year, purely because I wasn’t expecting them all to take. But now I am going to have more confidence in my skills and allocate one trough per crop. So very shortly, I should be able to report back on my efforts at growing such things as peas, beans, shallots, salad onions and lettuces. I have potatoes about to go in for the second year as well, and while last year wasn’t a bumper crop, it was quite good enough for my first attempt. In anticipation of my potato crop, I’ve even written a piece on the different ways to cook potatoes.
I had to invest some money in my self sufficiency efforts last year. I had to buy the troughs and the compost, and although I will have to buy more compost this year too, I know that the amount of vegetables I get in return is well worth the investment.
There is the pride and satisfaction — not to mention the taste –- that goes along with growing my own veggies as well. And that is something you cannot put a price on. So after last year’s roaring success in the tomato department, I shall be back for more this year.