Square Foot Garden Update – Tomatoes

by Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom on August 1, 2009

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This week’s tomato harvest…a bunch of cherry tomatoes and 1 large heirloom tomato!  Plus some parsley and basil (not pictured).

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So my tomato plants have taken over!  The two plants on the left (just out of the picture) had fallen over the back of the trellises and were just about to touch the ground.  I didn’t want any crazy squirrels getting any crazy ideas about eating my ‘maters.  So I gently picked them up and placed them up on top of the trellises and on top of the snap peas.  Of course, I lost my pea plants in the process.  But the cherry tomato plant continues to flourish.  The other 2 tomato plants that you can see in the picture have also outgrown there tomato grates and have fallen towards the right and will likely take over the beans space soon!

But I’m not complaining!  We’re gonna have a bounty of tomatoes from our 4 plants this year!  A true blessing!

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I have 4 tomato plants in the garden.  Just 1 of them is a cherry tomato plant.  And can I just say, it’s out of control!  I’ve probably already picked about 40-50 cherry tomatoes (between this week and the other week), and I guesstimate that there are at least another 100-120 on the plant still to ripen.  So…if you have ANY favorite cherry tomato recipes, PLEASE let me know!!!

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I’ve got 4 of these eggplants growing now…and can see sprouts for at least 3 more eggplants!

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I really did think I’d gotten the last of my green beans.  I had done 3 full harvests.  Surely they’d have grown what they were going to grow.  My Square Foot Gardening book said I’d likely get 2 harvests…and perhaps a 3rd in the fall.  Either I’m reading it wrong, or my green beans are breaking the rules.  They just keep coming!  Again I was surprised to find about 1 lb. of green beans hiding under there!  All in perfect shape!  I also harvested the tomatoes you see above and 2 yellow squash from the garden.

My yellow squash plants have succumb to powdery mildew.  Any advice on how to stop that…for next year!  I might get 1-2 more squash still, but I’m not counting on it!  I’m pleased to have harvested at least 10 squash from the 2 plants.  Several of the tiny squash died just as the plants were getting started because they were not being pollenated…so I could have had more!  I’ll know better for next year!

So anyone else harvesting anything from your garden???  I’d love to know!  Leave a comment with a link or list of all you’ve gleaned thus far!  All the hard work is paying off, huh?

{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

Becca August 1, 2009 at 8:35 am

I made dried/roasted tomatoes out of several cups of cherry tomatoes last week. Its really simple, you just need the tomatoes, olive oil, and salt and pepper. Supposedly if you also roast garlic still in the paper it turns out sweet and amazing, but I never have fresh garlic on hand.

Preheat your oven to 250 (if you want a more moist, but blackened tomatoes heat it to 400)
Cut tomatoes in half and put in a bowl. Season with plenty of salt and pepper and add the oil.
Place the tomatoes cut side up on the rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with any extra oil left in the bowl and put in the oven.

If you cook on 400 it will take 10-15 minutes. If you cook at 250 it will take about 4 hours.

Some people add basil or other fresh herbs before they roast the tomatoes, but they aren’t necessary.

Throw in a jar in the fridge covered in olive oil, or freeze for tomato goodness all winter long! These are great on pizza, or just as a snack!

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Gwenn August 1, 2009 at 8:58 am

You can roast cherry tomatoes in the oven (or on the stove top) until they burst. Crush them a little and they make a really nice pasta sauce. (google rachel ray recipes and you’ll find some. she does that all the time now)

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Kristi August 1, 2009 at 9:11 am

My cherry tomatoes have taken over too!!! Please share any recipes you find for them!!!!

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Amy @ Finer Things August 1, 2009 at 9:13 am

After we were sick of eating cherry tomatoes last summer, I started flash freezing and bagging them. SO NICE to have them throughout the winter for soups, stews, and chili.

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Michelle August 1, 2009 at 9:27 am

My most favorite way to eat cherry tomatoes in the summer is to cut them in half and toss in a bowl with mozzarella cubes, minced garlic, shredded basil, olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper. I can eat bowls of this stuff!

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Schroeder August 1, 2009 at 10:03 am

Last week a friend of mine, husband took cherry tomatos cut them in have gently coated in olive oil, we various spices ( he said he just pulled whatever out of the spice rack) and baked them in the oven. Let me tell you, I was hitting that bowl time and time again … they were THAT good. I realize i dont have an exact recipe. I thought of it as a concept and add whatever spices … nice harvest !

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Emily August 1, 2009 at 10:36 am

I have a pasta salad that uses cherry tomatoes, and I love it.

Heather’s Pasta Salad
8 oz box of rice penne pasta
1 box of grape tomatoes
1 can of olives
1 green pepper
1 container of feta cheese
italian salad dressing (This time I used a balsamic vinagrette, it was quite good, although I think usually I do a “zesty italian).

Cook the pasta, then shock it in ice cold water. Drizzle a little of the dressing over it, to keep it from sticking. Cut up the pepper, tomatoes, and olives and add in. Add the crumbled feta. Add a little more dressing. Stir. Enjoy.

Note: with the rice pasta this salad is better at a more room temperature. Rice pasta gets really hard when it is straight out of the fridge. So if you refrigerate it (as you should for food safety), just microwave it for 10-15 seconds.

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Shelby August 1, 2009 at 11:11 am

Just posted a recipe on my blog about oven dried tomatoes. YUMMY! :)

http://reclaimdinner.blogspot.com/2009/08/oven-dried-tomatoes-sundried-tomatoes.html

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Kelly August 1, 2009 at 11:29 am

I found an awesome cherry tomato sauce recipe last year – it’s great with fish or chicken.

The original recipe link is dead, but if I remember, it involved pouring a couple teaspoons of olive oil into a pan, heating on high until almost smoking, then dumping in a couple cloves garlic, sliced, and a cup of cherry tomatoes, whole. Cook them until the skins are blistering and charring a bit, squish with a spoon, and pour over your meat.

Here’s my blog post about it.

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Alea August 1, 2009 at 11:43 am

I have also been pleasantly surprised to find that my green beans (and my peas) are still producing. I am overwhelmed with summer squash, so I am working on a compilation of recipes that include summer squash (I am including a couple of yours). I also have an overabundance of tomatoes, but I plan on using those to can salsa and tomato sauce. Here is my latest update: http://premeditatedleftovers.blogspot.com/2009/07/squash-has-left-garden.html

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Megan August 1, 2009 at 11:51 am

My latest update!!

http://dailyessentialsanddeals.blogspot.com/2009/07/things-i-love-thursday-garden.html

I’ve been getting lots of red tomatoes, so yummy!
cucumbers, potatoes, zucchini, peppers, and a few beans that something didn’t eat…

My watermelons are real small but so cute! Sunflowers are gigantic!!

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CaseyDeuce August 1, 2009 at 11:53 am

I wish we had as many tomatoes as you!! They look awesome!!

Our garden is doing not so well because of the ridiculous amount of rain that we’ve had here between June and July… its ruining everything!!

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Crystal T. August 1, 2009 at 12:01 pm

As I type this my husband and I are working on putting up green beans in the freezer. We are blanching them and then bagging them up. Last night we shredded 3 giant zucchinis, I ended up with 6 bags with 2 cups of shredded zucchini and I made 2 loaves of zucchini bread from one of your recipes. We are about ready to harvest corn to put up in the freezer and sometime this week will be working on canning homemade salsa. This is the best/worst year for our garden. The best year for corn and the worst year for the tomatoes. The tomatoes have blossom end rot due to the fact that we’ve had an unusual amount of rain this year.

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daysgoby August 1, 2009 at 1:15 pm

Oooh! I LOVE summer ‘matoes!

Can I mention Rachael Ray here? She has a recipe for an AWESOME bread salad….http://tinyurl.com/lro99r. I tend to forget to add the peppers and put extra tomatoes in, but OHSOYUMMY.

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dawn August 1, 2009 at 3:39 pm

i’ve never had a cherry tomato make it into the house!

i thought my garden was boring, til i hit the farmer’s market today. all of a sudden i felt pretty successful: The only stuff they had that i didn’t, was stuff i didn’t like! LOL

We’ve got a produce drawer full of cucumbers that will be refrigerator pickles soon! I’ve made pesto and basil hummus, been drinking spearmint water all summer, snipped all the dill for the pickles, put in cilantro and more parsley — can you ever plant enough parsley?? — and leeks. The asparagus is finishing its second year, so next year we’ll be able to harvest all we want (and i found a website that teaches how to extend the harvest time!). Three different kinds of peppers are coming on — my banana peppers were bigger than at the market! LOL Late-planted green beans (4 bush varieties) starting to come up! Divided winter savory to share with a friend (if you haven’t tried it, you should — it’s excellent!) and am looking for a lovage plant. My seeds didn’t germinate, and i REALLY want to grow this! Cabbage that i planted in !!April!! is FINALLY starting to head up, and the one surviving broccoli (planted same time) is just putting out mondo leaves. it may do nothing. wierdest thing i’ve seen. I’m going to plant some more today for a fall harvest, along w/ radishes, lettuces, chard, bok choy.

but really, i’m just killing time til the tomatoes get ripe!!! i planted them really late so they’re not even close, just a few small greenies & lots of blossoms. yours are beautiful!!! thanks for sharing!

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Sara "ThrivingMama" T. August 1, 2009 at 4:07 pm

Hi!
I’m so jealous of your green beans. Evil Rabbits have mowed the leaves on mine and just this week too out the few vines that had made it! UGH!
If you planted pole green-beans, the tall vine kind, you will probably keep getting beans until the first frost – those suckers just keep producing. Usually when the Square Foot Gardening guy talks about second harvests, he means that you actually plant a second round of beans and get a harvest from those. I’m not sure on bush beans…good luck! I’ll have freezing directions up on my site next week. I did get a bunch of local green beans from the farm stand that are headed for my freezer :)

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Karen August 1, 2009 at 5:23 pm

I would use it to make a yummy pita sandwhich. Lettuce, tomatoes, greek yogurt, garlic powder, yellow onion, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, dill, and cucumber bits.

I’ve been meaning to make it just not enough time…

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Lawanna August 1, 2009 at 5:41 pm

2 weeks ago picked 7# of cucumbers that I canned into pickles, and 5# green beans that I canned. Then last night I got enough green beans to can another 5 pints. I can’t wait for tomatoes to ripen so I can make salsa.

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Mary W August 1, 2009 at 6:14 pm

Another in-exact Cherry Tomato recipe:

Saute chopped garlic in olive oil. Add a bunch of cherry tomatoes and sliced scallions. Cook until tomatoes begin to burst. Splash in wine or balsamic vinegar. Remove from heat. Throw in parsley if you’ve got it.

Side dish or serve over pasta for a main dish.

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Sara "ThrivingMama" T. August 1, 2009 at 7:10 pm

Hi!
I wish I had green beans – we lost our plants to the Evil Rabbits. They mowed off the leaves and then the few vines that had a chance got chomped too! If you planted pole beans, you will be harvesting until your first frost. Generally when the square foot gardening book talks about second and third harvests, it’s from planting new rotations of plants later in the summer. If you have bush beans, I’m not sure.
Enjoy!
Sara
http://www.ThrivingMama.com

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Jenna August 1, 2009 at 7:48 pm

Here are 2 recipes (both Rachel Ray) that I make when pints are on sale…didn’t get my garden planted this year as I wanted….but seeing what yours has done. FOR SURE next year I will: The first one is simple and the second more ingredients….maybe not $5 but I love Bleu Cheese crumbles:

Roasted Sausage with Tomatoes and Cauliflower

NEED:
EVOO
8 sausage links
2 pints grape tomatoes (had 1)
Green onions
3 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and Pepper
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 head Cauliflower cut into bite size florets

DIRECTIONS:
1.) Preheat oven to 425 degrees
2.) Drizzle EVOO onto a large rimmed baking sheet to coat bottom
3.) Add sausage, tomatoes, scallions, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and pour the vinegar on top.
4.) On another rimmed baking sheet toss cauliflower with EVOO and season with salt and pepper- arranging in a single layer
5.) Roast 30 minutes turning sausage and vegetables once halfway through
6.) Roast cauliflower 20 to 25 minutes or until tender and browned

Cobb Pasta Toss

Ingredients
• 3 pints grape or cherry tomatoes
• 4 tablespoons EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
• Salt and ground black pepper
• 6 slices bacon
• 1 pound whole wheat penne pasta
• 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
• 2 avocados, pitted and diced
• 1 lemon
• 2 cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped
• A few dashes hot sauce
• 4 to 5 scallions, thinly sliced on a bias
• 1 cup blue cheese crumbles
• 1/4 cup (about a handful) fresh basil, chopped
• 1/4 cup (about a handful) flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Yields: 4 servings

Preparation
Preheat an oven to 400ºF. Place a large pot of salted water over high heat to boil.
Scatter the tomatoes onto a baking sheet and drizzle with about 2 tablespoons EVOO and some salt and pepper. Toss lightly to coat and roast them in the hot oven until they burst open and are tender, 12-15 minutes.
Place the bacon on a broiler pan and transfer to the oven as well. Cook until crispy, about 15 minutes.
While the tomatoes and bacon are in the oven, drop the pasta in the boiling water and cook to al dente according to package directions. When the pasta is ready, reserve a large mug of the starchy cooking water and then drain the pasta and return it to the pot it was cooked in.
While the pasta is cooking, season chicken pieces with salt and ground black pepper. Heat a large skillet with one turn of the pan of EVOO, add the chicken and sauté until golden brown and cooked through, about 6 minutes.
While the chicken is cooking, scoop the avocado flesh into a small bowl and squeeze the juice of the lemon over it, tossing to coat.
When the chicken is finished cooking, add garlic to the pan, cook for 1 minute, then sprinkle in a few dashes of hot sauce and toss to coat.
In a large serving bowl, mash cooked tomatoes together with scallions, add the pasta water and pasta.
Top with chicken, crumble the cooked bacon over it, and toss with the avocado, blue cheese, basil and parsley.

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Angie August 2, 2009 at 10:17 am

I like to add tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion with a balsamic vinegar, olive oil and basil dressing with a few mined garlic cloves. Add as much or as little as you want. Stays good for lunch the next day. Also, my sister in law (she’s from Italy) makes bruschetta with cherry tomatoes. Toast baquettes slices until crunchy, rub with garlic cloves and when ready to eat put the tomatoe mixture (tomatoes, olive oil, basil) on top. Very tasty and light for a quick lunch or a great appetizer. Enjoy!

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Amy August 2, 2009 at 11:14 am

I have a great new recipe…I don’t know if you can eat bacon, but if you can My whole family loved them!

Take a cherry Tomato wrap a basil leaf around it, then wrap a half piece of bacon around that. Secure with a skewer and either grill, or put on a roasting pan in the oven. The oven would be about 400-450 for 10-15 minutes or until the bacon is crisp!

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tina August 2, 2009 at 12:57 pm

I’ve made this recipie when my cherry tomatoes are overwhelming: It makes a nice side dish. the only downside is the hot oven in summer.

Hebed Cherry Tomatoes

2 pints cherry tomatoes
1/2 c bread crumpts
1/2 c minced fresh parsley
3T olive oil
1t fresh thyme
salt and pepper

oven to 425. Place tomates in shallow making dish. Combine remaining ingredients and spoon over tomatoes. bake 6-8 min.

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Summer August 2, 2009 at 2:46 pm

This recipe is easy and the whole family love it! Best of all it uses fresh basil and cherry tomatoes from your garden!!

Sautee some cubed chicken in a skillet with a little olive oil. (As much as your family would like- I use a couple of breasts) Remove chicken after pink is gone and set aside. In skillet sautee cherry tomatoes ( halved) , 1/2 cup water until tomatoes are hot throughout and soft. Add chicken, fresh chopped basil and 1 tsp of hot pepper flakes and stir until well combinmed. Finally, add cooked penne pasta and combine. Serve hot with a sprinkle of cheese on top.

Yum!

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Holly August 2, 2009 at 5:41 pm

I got this recipe from my sister. It originally called for diced plum tomatoes, but we always use grape or cherry tomatoes, halved.

Capellini Pomodoro

2 cloves garlic (minced)
1 lb. of halved cherry/grape tomatoes or diced plum tomatoes
1 oz. of fresh basil (minced)
3 oz. of parmesan cheese (grated)
12 oz. of angel hair pasta (cooked)
1/3 c. olive oil
1/4 tsp. pepper

Cook pasta according to instructions and drain. While the pasta is cooking…
Heat olive oil and cook garlic until white.
Add tomatoes and pepper and heat through. Stir constantly (2-3 min. Tomatoes should not lose shape) Toss cooked pasta with tomato mixture, basil and 1/2 of parmesan. Sprinkle the top with the remaining parmesan and serve.

Sounds like a $5 dinner to me!

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Allison August 2, 2009 at 6:58 pm

Lovely garden! I’m also doing square foot gardening and this is my first garden. Lots and lots of basil, cucumbers and lettuce this summer. Tomatoes are growing well, but not ripe yet. (If I can keep my 2 1/2 year old from picking the green ones!) Some jalapenos and green peppers, nice scallions and some beans. I’ve planted second rounds of lettuce and carrots for fall.

All my zucchini plants died. Not one single squash. (I know!)

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Annie @ PhD in Parenting August 3, 2009 at 9:01 am

I will often toss cherry tomatoes in olive oil and then do them quickly on the BBQ in a veggie basket and then add them warm to a salad or throw them into a pasta.

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Lisa from Kentucky August 3, 2009 at 1:22 pm

I have the same problem with mine. I also have grape tomatoes! Plus, my tomato eating husband has been out of town and will be for about 2 more weeks. I have been picking and giving away to family and friends.

Also, I had the same problem w/squash this year. We lost all 4 plants to what looked like mold. It happened so suddenly too.

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Jessica August 4, 2009 at 11:07 am
Candace August 4, 2009 at 4:22 pm

We make bruschetta with our garden tomatoes. Quarter or chop tomatoes, drain a bit if very juicy, toss w/ basil, olive oil, salt and pepper, and serve on top of french bread pieces that have been toasted with parmesan or fresh mozzarella.

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Jessie at Blog Schmog August 4, 2009 at 6:35 pm

Cherry tomatoes are good with mozarella balls, fresh basil and balsalmic dressing of some sort tossed in for a delicious summer salad.

My beans didn’t do well this year, so strange! Last year though, the more I picked the more they came. I probably got more beans every other day for a good couple of weeks and then once a week for a while. They were a bush variety, we loved them! I went with pole beans this year and haven’t seen anything yet.

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Diana August 4, 2009 at 6:41 pm

We’ve gotten 7 yellow squash, 5 Zuchini, 2 eggplants, 5 tomatoes, 7 cherry tomatoes and we are about to have 1 each of red, yellow and orange bell peppers. We too are doing to square foot gardening. We have several pepper plants that are just starting to sprout the buds for peppers and some of our tomato plants have TONS of tomatoes, and have had for awhile but none are getting ripe :(

Now is the time to make fried green tomatoes :)

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Kathryn August 5, 2009 at 1:39 pm

This is my absolute favorite way to use cherry tomatoes. This soup also freezes well if you don’t add the cream until you are ready to eat it. Be careful when blending if using a blender. The heat creates a huge amount of steam which will burn your hand or blow the top of the blender off.

Roasted Tomato Soup

6 cups (3 pints) cherry tomatoes
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 tbsp unsalted butter
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup chopped onion
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 tsp thyme
1 cup whipping cream

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. On a baking sheet, combine the cherry tomatoes, 2 tbsp olive oil and the salt and pepper. Toss teh ingredients to coat evenly and spread them in a single layer. Roast the tomatoes until they are shriveled with brown spots, about 35-45 minutes.

In a large pot, heat the butter and the remaining oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and saute until softened, about 6 minutes. Add teh canned tomatoes with ttheir juice, the broth, the thyme and the roasted tomatoes, including any liquid on the baking sheet. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered for 40 minutes.

Using a blender, puree the soup until it’s smooth. Return it to the pot and stir in the cream. Without letting the soup boil, warm it over medium heat, stirring often, until steaming. Add salt and pepper, if necessary.

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