Our Mission

To live a self-sufficient and organic lifestyle for the next half century. With the Grace of God and the power of prayer, we will succeed. Nothing is impossible with His help. It wouldn't be us without laughter and joy at the Cockeyed Homestead.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Tomatoes: A Cockeyed Harvest and Mysterious Bug Bites

My plum tomatoes have been growing for months now. The plum tomatoes have been hanging for several weeks still very green. The few that have turned red are swarmed by pests before I can pick them. I've hated buying tomato sauce and fresh tomatoes in the store each week waiting for them to ripen.

Oddly enough, the pests are mainly attacking my plum tomatoes and leaving my Cherokee tomatoes placed along another fence alone. This week I found a way to beat Mother Nature and the pests to the punch. I found that the pests leave the green tomatoes alone for the most part. As I was tying the errant branches to the fence several green tomatoes fell to the ground. I picked them up and put them into my harvest basket. To me, if a tomato comes off the plant at a slight touch, it's ready to be harvested no matter if it's green or red. As I looped each branch to the fence I touched each tomato. If it came loose, I put it in my basket. I continued down the 24' row row touching and gathering as I went..

I ended up with about 10 lbs of green plum tomatoes. I brought them inside, washed them, and placed them in a southern-ish facing kitchen window. Our trailer is cockeyed where no window is true facing in any compass point. Sure enough they ripened in the window turning the glorious red color in a matter of days.

My version of tying up tomatoes is to weave the branches through the 2x4 fencing. It's best I can mange one handed. As  a result of this, every rain with wind or the sheer weight of the tomatoes pulls the branches loose. While it doen't hurt the tomatoes or the plant to grow on the straw covered ground, the plants are easier for some pests to get to them. So every other day, it seems, I am trussing up tomato branches.

Each time more and more green tomatoes come loose. So I've got about thirty pounds of tomatoes on window sills  Soon I'll have enough ripe tomatoes to make a big pot of sauce to can. So, since I've already canned my green beans for the year, it's tomato canning time.

On to the mysterious bug bites. Over the past week, I've been chewed on by something. At first I thought mosquitoes, but the bites were in areas not exposed like on my upper thigh, hip, and waist areas. Mel kept insisting they were ant bites. But I had my doubts. The bites formed a knot under the skin, and after a couple of days a pus pocket formed.  They were painful at first and then itchy like mosquito bites. There were also bites on my ankles. I always wear thick, knee-high socks even to bed, and one leg is covered by a brace. These bites were also under the places where my AFO covered.It looked similar to a bee sting or tick bite. It was a mystery.

I thought bed bugs, but the onset was wrong. I was sitting in a chair in the dining room or the back porch. There was also the fact of where the bites were. It took a happenstance, I was getting ready for bed a couple of days later, and changing my socks, I found a small spider, now dead in my sock. After a thorough search, I found an empty egg sack under my computer chair in the dining room and the back porch. These baby spiders were small enough to worm their way through the knitted material of my docks and were small enough to fit between my AFO and my leg. Mystery solved! A thorough spraying of an insecticide and no more bites. See, I told Mel it wasn't ants.

Y'all have a blessed day.

2 comments:

  1. Yikes! All those little spider bites! Definitely no fun and it's a blessing it wasn't some sort of poisonous type spider.

    Very interesting about your tomatoes. I've always had more problems trying to grow paste types than regular tomatoes, so I've given up on the paste tomatoes. Like you, I seem to have better success if I pick them before they are ripe and let them ripen in the house. Much less insect damage (and bird pecks. :)

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  2. Leigh, I don't know about them not being poisonous. It's been two weeks since the first bites and they are still scabbed over sores. They haven't necrosed the tissue any farther than the initial bite swelling but still itchy.

    We have too many dogs and cats for the birds ti get into the garden to destroy much except maybe the BO Sunflowers. But I'm usually quick harvesting the heads. I kinda like picking them green and ripening them quick in paper bags though.I get 10 lbs of perfectly ripe tomatoes perfect for canning in small batches.

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