The Potager

The Potager

Monday, August 10, 2015

cheery cherry tomatoes (and a recipe)

What gardener doesn't love a cherry tomato plant? While you wistfully gaze at those big green tomatoes, willing them to ripen, the cherry tomato is already giving you sweet little gems to munch on. Anyone who has grown cherry tomatoes knows that for a family of two, one cherry tomato plant will suffice. Maybe two.
We have five. Yes, five cherry tomato plants.
You may ask why we planted five cherry tomato plants.
And we would tell you we didn't plant any cherry tomato plants. When we went out to plant in the garden in the spring, there were tomato plants everywhere. We knew that they must have been from last year's cherry tomato plant, because, quite frankly, it got away from us last year. Lesson learned - you do not need to plant cherry tomatoes in March, because the seeds winter-over just fine. the plants grow in early spring and produce cherry tomatoes the same time as  everyone else's cherry tomatoes, that were bought at a green house, start producing cherry tomatoes.

We have five. That is, we have five that we are tending to. There are more growing outside the potager that we missed during weeding that are growing just fine. If we tried to plant out there, the deer and the ground hogs would decimate them, but there they are. Maybe the deer and ground hogs had their fill of them also.
 Hubby transplanted two, I found a bunch of tomato plants growing in my asparagus and left three. Two of the three were cherry tomatoes. I have read that asparagus and tomatoes are good companion plants. So far, it seems that the asparagus is holding up the tomato plant and the tomato plant is supporting the asparagus. I usually have to tie up my asparagus ferns by this time in the season, but not  this year.
In June, when I looked under the row cover protecting my kale,  I found a healthy cherry tomato plant already in bloom, so I removed the row cover and left it. That was a death sentence for my poor kale, which got infected with cabbage moths. But the tomato did fine.
We also pulled out scores of others and continue doing so to this day.

Last year we planted super sweet 100 and a grape tomato. We have no grape tomatoes, but we do have one that is larger than the other cherry tomatoes. We think it is a campari tomato that came from the compost pile. No grape tomatoes came up, so we believe the rest of our cherry tomatoes to be super sweet 100 cherry tomatoes. Or a variation thereof.
So what happens when two people have five cherry tomato plants?
You end up with a lot of cherry tomatoes!
I think we will all agree that the best way to eat a cherry tomato is to pluck it off the plant while gardening and plop it in your mouth. We do that. Often.
The second best way would be in salad. Cherry tomatoes don't make your salad soggy like a cut up tomato does. We make a lot of salads.
My third favorite way would be to roast them and make a pasta sauce.
This is so easy to do. Simply pile them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (for easy clean up) and add what ever you want - in this instance fresh garlic and peppers from the garden. Toss all with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in a 400 degree oven until all the skins have burst.
Then add fresh herbs (basil! oregano! thyme! parsley!) and cook a bit longer. This smells divine!
Toss with whole grain pasta and grate Parmesan cheese on top!  Perfect recipe for Meatless Monday!
Or, if you don't want to eat meatless, grill up some sausages and slice them into your pasta. You will be amazed at how good this is!

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