A Little Pruning (Inside and Out) – Summer Vacation Day 13/70

Still cloudy and cold, I think the east coast is stealing all of the sunshine – although I think they would love to send a bit out west if they could.  I decided to do a little purging of the coat closet and garage in the morning, sending my fabulous husband and youngest off with a few boxes of things for Goodwill, a bag of produce clamshells for the recycler, and a couple of bags of refundable cans.  We emptied the compost and I cleaned out the refrigerator.

By afternoon the sun actually broke out and I went out to prune out the extra stalks on the tomatoes.  I also found so wooden stakes and tied them up.  They are grafted tomatoes and I’m anxious to see how they perform compared to my cheap tomato starts from BiMart.

pear tree before pruning

I also took a pruning shear to one of the pear trees.  I know it’s the wrong time of year, but I found a few videos last summer that showed how to summer prune apple and I figured it wouldn’t hurt to try it on the pears.  Also, these pears started out life in the orchard as Asian Pears that at some point seemed to have reverted back to root stock so they aren’t the greatest tasting pears in the world.  I cut back the branched to the first pear and removed some pears so that none were closer than about 6 inches to another.  I took out a few of the more wonky branches and some of what my grandpa used to call ‘water suckers’ – long, fast-growing, upright branches.

pear tree after pruning

A Flood of Tomatoes – Summer Vacation Day 8/70

Last night, when we picked up the reclaimed produce, there was a virtual avalanche of tomatoes.  I think I counted about 50 of them.  All of the Roma’s went into the dehydrator for drying and the rest (about three pounds) were turned into Tomato Jam this morning.  I ended up getting 4 half pints from this recipe.  In addition to the tomatoes, we also got a pint of fresh raspberries, some apples, corn, sweet potatoes, lettuce, celery and sweet peppers.  I have a bunch of sweet red peppers now, so I’ll have to find a good way to put them up.

Tomato Jam

  • 3 pounds tomatoes -seeded and chopped
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup  lemon juice
  • 1 T fresh ginger – grated
  • 2 t dried red pepper flakes
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 1/4 t cumin
  • 4 t low sugar pectin powder
  1.  Combine tomatoes, sugar, lemon juice, ginger, red pepper flakes, salt, cinnamon, and cumin in a pot and bring to a boil over medium-high.  Stir frequently and reduce the heat to a simmer until the mixture thicken to a jam-like consistency.  Sprinkle in the pectin, stir and simmer for one more minute.

  2. Process in half pint jars in a steam or water bath for 15 minutes.

Spring Pruning of the Raspberries

We’ve had such a wet spring in the Pacific Northwest that I am really behind on all of my winter and spring pruning and gardening.  We finally had two days in a row in the seventies and when I walked by the garden I noticed the sad state of our raspberry bed.

The "Before"

When I got up there, it was even worse than I thought.  The golden raspberries are in pretty good shape, they just needed to have the dead stalks and the volunteers removed.  The red raspberries do not look good.  They have become very “viney”, long and straggly, curled and weak.  I headed them back and removed all of the dead canes.  When I finished pruning, I weeded to get it ready for a top dress of compost next weekend.  At least it looks better.

The "After"