Friday, 16 January 2009

you say tomato, I say gardening failure...



I am not having such a good time in the garden these days. You may recall my excitement and enthusiasm for all things horticulture when we moved to the Blue House. But after some recent failures, my excitement is waining a little. I was so excited about my tomatoes...

We have gone down the organic gardening route for several reasons, including not wanting to poison any of the big, fat blue tongue lizards and sweet little frogs that inhabit our garden. The only spray I have used is a mixture of garlic and chili and onion and gets the organic thumbs up. As you know we have lost all the lettuce seedlings and now all the eggplants. And because of our pesticide free gardening philosophy, we have been susceptible to a gazillion things that have invaded my vegetable patch and taken up residence in the tomatoes. It seems like all the beefsteak and yellow varieties have wormy things in them. Not so appetising... The grosse lisse and Apollo look OK, for now. Luckily the cherry tomatoes are immune to the fruit fly so they are going gang busters (I have added the general directions for this tomato salad below).

I have picked most of the other fruit green (before the un-invited guests move in) so I can make a big batch of green tomato chutney over the next day or two.

Of course I still love getting out there and mucking about in the soil and weeding and watching my things grow. But before next spring I need to do my research and read my companion planting book and find ways to out whit, out smart and out do those bloomin' bugs and flies.

Perhaps I will have more luck with my autumn/winter garden. Now, where is that Diggers catalogue...

The Tomato Salad
A pile of tomatoes - cherry or big, ripe red ones and yellow ones or any heirloom varieties or whatever you have. Make sure what ever you use has lots of lovely flavour as this salad is really only tomatoes.
Some sea salt
1 clove of garlic, crushed (or microplaned as I do to save time)
Olive Oil
Vinegar (Red Wine or Balsamic)
Pinch of dried oregano
Some fresh basil, washed and torn.

Cut your tomatoes into chunks/squares/bits (cherry tomatoes in half). Place in a large colander and sprinkle with some salt. Mix around and then sprinkle with a tiny bit more. Leave to sit for 15 minutes. Some of the excess liquid will be drawn out by the salt - this leaves more of the intense flavour behind.

Transfer to a salad bowl. Sprinkle with a pinch of dried oregano and gently mix. Make the dressing 1 part vinegar to 3 parts oil - add the crushed garlic and mix. Pour over the dressing, season with freshly cracked pepper (may not need any more salt but check). Toss in the basil and serve.

We have been eating this a lot - in the photo we had it with a roast vegetable fritatta and some left over caponata. Lovely.

7 comments:

Kate said...

There is nothing worse than investing all your time in your vegie garden, only to have something come along at the last minute and munch it all up.

I heard that marigolds were good to plant with tomatoes; the funny thing is the marigolds got eaten, but the tomatoes didnt. But then, we dont have lizards in our back yard...

Jessica said...

Oh bummer! But tomato salad...nothing is more wonderful!

littleecofootprints said...

I am having exactly the same problems with my tomotoes at the moment..Its so sad. Tonight I was cutting tomoatoes trying to fnd atleast one I could include in a salad..I found myself wondering maybe eating a few worms is not all that bad...atleast i can give them to the chooks I tell myself.

I have HEAPS of Marigolds and they don't seem to have helped. Tricia

Amber said...

Oh but Rach your garden is soooo precious. Yummmm must be making that salad...xx

Amber said...

Hey lovely,

I have tagged you for an award. Hope you play along...xxx

Jelly Wares said...

That salad looks absolutely delicious, thanks for sharing....
I had the same problem as you with my tomatoes a couple of years ago. Thankgoodness for companion planting I can now grow tomatoes with nearly no problems... Good luck with the research hopefully you'll have better luck next year...

potty mouth mama said...

That salad looks wonderful. And your gardening efforts sound fantastic, even if the wiggly things are getting into them. At least someone's enjoying them... Right?! Hopefully next harvest you yield more for yourselves.