A great quick tip on what to do with your excess tomatoes from Heidi at lightlycrunchy by way of Survival Farm/Town and Country Gardening in Oklahoma.
Tomato photo by Eat More Chips
This is a treasure trove of information about vegetables and vegetable growing. If you don’t live in Texas you’ll benefit from the general information, if you live in Texas or in the same region you’ll be able to take advantage of the region-specific information they give.
Vegetables covered in detail are artichokes, asparagus, beets, carrots, cilantro, “cole crops” (broccoli, cabbage, etc.), collards, cucumbers, eggplant, green beans, melons, okra, onions, peppers, Irish potatoes, radishes, spinach, squash, sweet corn, tomatoes, turnips and mustard. There are also guides for fruit and herb growing.
Other topics include composting, disease management, fertilizing, harvesting and handling, insect control and so on. There is a variety selector that divides Texas up into regions and shows you good selections for each area along with days to harvest for each vegetable and variety.
I noticed that they list both conventional and organic insecticides in the insect control documents, though I thought they might have written about methods like companions planting as controls for insects. So, they don’t offer a wealth of info on organic gardening, but if you’re just getting familiar with the plants, this collection is a good starting point.
Oh, don’t want to forget, they offer a link to a journal article by George Washington Carver, the great American horticulturalist, entitled “How the Farmer Can Save His Sweet Potatoes and Ways of Preparing them for the Table.”
These are high quality PDFs that you can download and print, even use to create your own reference binder.
Oh, the marvellous tomato plant! This video shows an easy way to make clones of your tomato plants from otherwise discarded foliage. You’d prune off those extra shoots as a matter of course because they take energy away from the plant that you want it to spend on producing tomatoes.
This would be a good way to skip the seed starting process entirely — if a friend or community garden is willing to let you have a shoot.