Late September Harvest – Tuesday Garden Party

late September Harvest

You’ll have to forgive the ugly five-gallon buckets in the photo above – it took two hours to pick all this after we’d been gone for the weekend and I didn’t have any time to make the haul look pretty.

Though I’m not sure what I would’ve done, anyway, as each of those buckets holds between 20 to 30 pounds of tomatoes! Even the black basket holds 25 pounds…sheesh, that’s a lot of tomatoes. This is probably the height of our season – there are still a number of tomatoes that will ripen over the next couple of weeks, but not this many, thank goodness.

I’m grateful, but I’m also starting to get tired of seeing tomatoes in my sleep after putting up the last 100 pounds. Hope I don’t have full-on tomato nightmares with this next 100!

The number one question I get whenever I harvest a bunch of tomatoes is:

 What do you do with all those tomatoes?

My answer? A lot! We eat them, of course and then I dry, freeze and can them.

Here’s what I’ve made so far and what I plan to put up over the next month:
  • Addictive Tomato Chutney – all done, we’re set for the coming year!
  • Roasted Tomato Sauce – 10 quarts are in the freezer, I’ll need at least another 15 – maybe 20
  • My Favorite Salsa for Canning – all done with 26 pints (+ 8 from last season = 34 for the year)
  • Dried Tomatoes in Olive Oil – 1 quart done, I’ll need another 2 or 3 (have to finish the plums first though…)
  • Pizza Sauce – all done for the year with 8 pts, 4 12-oz, and 11 1/2 pts.(I add dried Italian seasonings to the Blue Bk’s “All Purpose Seasoned Tomato Sauce”)
  • “Rotel” type tomatoes and chilies – I’d like 10 to 12 pts. for this year (sharing the recipe this week: update- here’s the recipe)
  • BBQ sauce (Ball Blue Book recipe)- a few 1/2 pts. and some full pints – maybe 5
  • Canned Bruschetta Topping – 7 1/2-pints for those winter months where I’m craving tomatoes…
  • I may can some quarts of Pasta Sauce, though we like our roasted sauce so much that it’s always our first choice.
  • Diced tomatoes (basic Ball Blue Book canned tomatoes to use throughout the year) – I use all the tomatoes I have left to get as many pints and quarts as I can.


Some of the highlights from the harvest are the “Cuore di bue” paste tomatoes (pictured left above) which look like little pumpkins and have a great flavor; the huge amount of Italian plums we’re harvesting from our own trees this year (first time we’ve had more than a handful!); and our sweet grape tomatoes that everyone loves, but I lost the tag and dont’ know the variety. Sigh.

I’m really going to start my seeds again this next season – this is but one result of buying most of my starts this year. The others being mislabeled plants (I’ve got red Brandywines instead of the lovely pink-purple variety) and four plants of a nasty tomato called “Champion” that I’ve never grown – and never will again.

Lesson learned.

Are you harvesting large amounts, or are you at the end of the season?

Tuesday Garden Party

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  1. candice says

    200lbs of tomatoes?? Can I tell you how jelous I am?!! I had a good 60lbs but it’s not enough to make everything I want for the winter. I need a bigger garden, but think that the fam wouldn’t be too happy it I took over the rest of the back yard. I am also digging your list of ‘preserves’ for this year. That is a substantial list…nice work:)

  2. Shannan says

    Ahhhh… seeing the cuore di bue tomatoes, it’s like seeing my adopted babies! They look great! How many tomatoes plants did you end up with? I want to know how many plants produce 200 lbs of tomatoes! Lol

    • Jami says

      Yes, Shannan, I think of you every time I look at these odd tomatoes!! :) I ended up with 22 plants total of tomatoes – three, though, are Cherokee Purple which have only produced a handful this year, so this is from 19 producing plants – 6 plum/paste, 5 heirloom, 2 grape/cherry, and 6 hybrids like Early Girl and the awful Champion I mentioned. Hope you’re getting a lot, too!

  3. says

    hi there, oh wow just beautiful! now for the questions, maybe ive missed the answers sorry but i am totally excited about vertical container gardening and getting started. 1) where do you get your seeds 2) are they organic (non GMO!!!) do you have a fave place and i would rather start with “plants” vs seeds cause im new at this, if you have any suggestions on a place to start for seeds/plants id love to hear please? thanks kat ps my dehydrator is on the way! lol – for now i must purchase my veggies to dry, do you suggest only organic? which may be hard to find in my neck of the woods :(

    • Jami says

      The two seed catalogs I order the most from are Territorial and Pinetree. There are some great catalogs, though, like Baker Heirloom Seeds and High Country Gardens. Most sell starts as well as seeds, though I’ve never ordered starts from a catalog. There are some local nurseries that sell organic starts here – I’m sure they are in your area, Kat, as well. You’ll have to spend the winter doing some research for your area (that’s the fun part of gardening!). :)

  4. says

    That’s a whole lotta tomatoes, Jami–good on you! I have a lot at the moment as well–looks like I may have to break out the canner to deal with them all. I’d rather dry or freeze them, because it’s quicker and easier, but I can’t let them go to waste. And all those wonderful Italian plums–they are so good. Thank you once again for hosting the party today!

  5. says

    wow! I bet you are seeing tomatoes in your dreams. I think I’ll try those paste tomatoes next year. We also planted cherokee purple and got about 36lbs from 11 plants so they aren’t very heavy producers but they were super good. I think next year I’ll only plant a couple.

    We’ve started our fall garden. My sons built me two 4’X8′ boxes to plant in. I’m really excited about them – I hope it cuts down on the weeding.

    Thanks for hosting this each week. Its so inspirational!

  6. Sakura says

    I love your harvest! I have soooo many tomatoes to process. I think I have 40 lbs picked and another 40 or 50 that are waiting to be picked. I have 8 more english cucumbers to pick and pickle. I’m down to my last 6 eggplants which I’ll bread and freezer for lasagnas later. Still have hot peppers to pick, I can’t wait for the rotel recipe. I’ll pick them then. We get a handful of strawberries everyday. I have enough basil left to make a few more pints of pesto. I’m hoping my turnips, arugula and lettuce have time to finish growing before it gets too cold. Oh and there’s the swiss chard, that thing never dies. I’ve also been processing apples, pears, asian pears and soon to come concord grapes. Our fridge in the garage is full of zucchini’s and squash, I’m not sure what to do with all of them. This has been an awesome year for our garden. I’m hoping to clean out most of my beds the week after next and put away my canners until next year!


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