Sunday, October 23, 2011

Keep Your Tomatoes Regular with Oatmeal!

"Nothing Is Better For Thee Than Me!"
At this end of the tomato-growing season, we have to find a way to ripen those still green on the vine. If brought indoors attached to some stem to nourish them, they will usually finish up over time, but we've learned to wrap them in newspaper to keep them coddled but dry. The downside: those newspaper-wrapped bundles look messy and aren't an efficient use of shelf space!
This year I put them into the cardboard cylinders that oatmeal comes in, and the system works great! The toms are reddening up quite well, and the boxes provide a more convenient structure for stacking on a shelf than does plain newspaper.
I did not put the tops on the boxes, thinking that that would interfere with air circulation. I also packed them quite loosely; perhaps a quarter of the volume was the fruit, with another quarter being stem, and the rest air space. I don't know whether a denser pack would still work, or whether at some point it might lead to rot. Next year I'll accumulate a variety of small boxes and experiment to see what makes the best configuration. At any rate, there doesn't seem to be any reason to shell out money for an efficient tomato ripening system, when a shelf full of boxes works so well!
This week's Change The World Wednesday Challenge is
"This week, find one way to lower the environmental impact of your pet."
This prompted me to do some thinking and googling. One idea that appealed to me was to experiment with wood pellets for kitty litter. I'll be honest: the low price of wood pellets is attractive! But the benefit of using a renewable resource, rather than mining clay, is also a big plus. I also like any excuse to go visit Hayes' Feed Store; it's a local business that has a lot of interesting stuff to look at and to ponder. I cannot report on results so far but I'm looking forward to the experiment!

1 comment:

Small Footprints said...

Great idea with the tomatoes ... I've heard of putting them in a paper back but, the same as newspaper, it takes up a lot of room ... the oatmeal "tube" is a great idea! Looking forward to see how the wood chips work out.