And from the back of the room in that shrill voice of hers...okay, mine...I screeched, "ONLY TWO? BUT I PLANTED TWELVE!"
The Master Gardener and her small but experienced gardener audience chuckled at my tomato enthusiasm, since clearly this newbie got a little out of control when purchasing her seedlings.
Well, I beg to differ. Having twelve tomato plants is going to be totally awesome, especially since I plan on canning a lot of the fruit.
Yep, that's right, I'm going old school. Actually, canning is new again. As food costs rise, home canning is a great way to save money, especially if you grew the food yourself.
As I am, with my TWELVE TOMATO PLANTS.
There are plenty of books and kits to help you get started. The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving has been on my nightstand for a few days now, and I'm getting my materials ready. I have a pressure cooker (Thanks, Uncle Rich!), funnel, jar lifter and an assortment of jars, lids and bands.
I hope to have enough tomatoes for a few jars each of pasta sauce, crushed tomatoes and diced tomatoes. Of course, more would be better. In my wildest dreams, I'll be up day and night for two straight weekends as I can can can thousands of beautiful red tomatoes.
In addition to the Complete Book of Home Preserving, I have an older Ball Blue Book for canning from BFF Laura that's going to come in handy, as well as The Encyclopedia of Homemade Preserves. Online, I'm looking at the Ball Canning website and the National Center for Home Food Preservation.
Now, all I need is for my 100+ green tomatoes out there to ripen all within two weeks of each other.
Note to the crowd at the Master Gardener Q&A session: Next year, I'm planning for TWENTY tomato plants. Minimum. So there!