Florida Weave

Over the years, we’ve grown hundreds and hundreds of tomato plants.

It all begins innocently enough: nothing beats the sweet smell of a little tomato plant on one of your first trips to the greenhouse in Spring (we just don’t bother to start tomato plants by seed—just a preference).

The thick, sticky little leaves…the bright green signaling the approaching summer…the visions of bulbous, red orbs packed into quart jars. Before you know it, you’ve got a row of 50 tomato plants. Cute, right? Until they’re waist-high, uprooting the tomato cages that were, at one time, way too big for the tiny plant.

Staking tomato plants. You name it; we’ve tried it.

This year, we’re going with the “Florida Weave.”

David has hammered wooden stakes 12 inches into the ground between every other tomato plant. The twine you use should be resistant to weather (obviously) and “grip” the stakes. We’re using baler twine.

Begin your twine about a foot off the ground, wrapping around the end stake and continue down the row “weaving” between plants—the object being the course of a figure 8 in twine supporting your plants. It’s recommended the figure 8 support is necessary only on the first level. From then on, you can just run straight down the row, attaching to stakes.

Many thanks to our friends at the Penn State Cooperative Extension website for posting this and many other helpful suggestions. Remember, there is a wealth of information available through your Cooperative Extension offices and websites!

Slipping Tomato Skins

Slipping Tomato Skins

Many cooked tomato canning recipes call for tomatoes to be “washed, cored, peeled and chopped” (in fact, I can’t think of one right off the bat that doesn’t). The simplest way to peel a tomato is just to “slip the skin.”

Here are the simple steps:

  1. Wash, core and inspect your tomatoes (remove any bad spots)
  2. Place the tomatoes gently into boiling water for 30-60 seconds.  You’ll notice the skin start to “crack”
  3. Immediately transfer tomatoes to cold water (I add a little ice as well—to keep the cold water from warming too quickly)
  4. Using your hands, gently peel or “slip” the skin off.


The green tomato in the batch is an heirloom variety and RIPE!  I needed it to fill out the weight of the tomatoes required in my barbeque sauce recipe.  No one will ever know; shhhhh!  Don’t tell…