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  #1  
Old 01/28/11, 10:55 AM
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How many tomato plants???????

I'm trying to figure out how many tomato plants I need this year and would really like some help. I can ALOT and would like to make about 150 quarts of spaghetti sauce and 100 quarts of salsa and 20 quarts of juice and 50 quarts of barbeque sauce. I was lucky enough to get the most amazing spaghetti sauce and barbeque sauce recipes this past year and 30 quarts of spaghetti sauce (all I was able to make) is almost gone as we love it and so does my extended families. It's a zuchini based salsa but does have alot of tomato in it. 100 quarts of this is a minimum, I would love to make alot more.

I'm thinking I'll need 200 plants. Does that sound about right?

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Old 01/28/11, 11:17 AM
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Have no idea on the number, but please do share the recipes! I would like to do more canning this summer.

I plant about 300-500 for the market garden, but don't know how that would translate to canning.

Cheers!

Katherine

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Old 01/28/11, 11:50 AM
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Yes! PLEASE share the recipes!!! How many plants did it take to make the 30 qts? Multipy the number of plants again and again to figure it out. Alot depends on the type and size of tomatoes you grow plus how rich is your soil and what the weather will be like this summer. It's always good to plant extra!!!!

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  #4  
Old 01/28/11, 12:02 PM
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Dawn's BBQ Sauce
11 cups tomato juice
11 whole onions chopped fine (we grind)
2 3/4 tsp paprika
5 lb sugar
1- 15oz worcestershire sauce
2 hot peppers chopped fine (we grind)
1 1/4 cup vinegar
7 TBS salt

Simmer all ingredients for 1 hour and pour into sterilized jars. Process pints 10 min at 10 lb pressure and quarts 15 minutes. Note: we ground everything so that once done it wouldn't clog up the meat injector (think HUGE needle and syringe).



Zuchini Salsa
10 cups zuchini (peeled and shredded)
4 onions- chopped
2 green peppers- chopped
2 red peppers- chopped
1/4 c pickling salt
1TBS pickling salt
2 TBS dry mustard
1 TBS garlic (we use a bit more) crushed
2 TBS cumin
2 TBS cilantro
2 C vinegar (white)
1/3 C brown sugar
1 TBS red pepper flakes
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp pepper
5 C chopped tomatoes
12 oz tomato paste

Day 1- combine zuchini, onions peppers and salt. mix and let stand overnight
Day 2- rine and drain well, add everything else and simmer for 15 min. HWB 15 min (I pressure canned for 15 min)

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Old 01/28/11, 12:09 PM
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A bushel of tomatoes weighs 50 pounds. Yields per plant will depend a lot on the variety, spacing, growing season etc. but 10 to 15 to 20 pounds per plant is a good ball park figure.

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  #6  
Old 01/28/11, 12:12 PM
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When I can find the spaghetti sauce recipe I'll post it.

I'm guesstimating that I'll need 200 plants which is alot more than last year, but last year I was lucky and had a friend with a serious tomato surplus problem and we combined tomatoes and processed them and canned together. Which makes guesstimating so difficult. She had 400 plants and I don't think I'll need that many.

Oh, the BBQ sauce is runny/thin but EXTREMELY flavorful, you could simmer till as thick as you want it- we wanted it like this cuz of the meat injector and found that it's perfect for old fashioned BBQ (smoking 12 hours then smoking/barbequing really low for another 12 hours with lots of basting the last 4-5 hours).

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Old 01/28/11, 12:33 PM
 
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I know it takes a ton of tomatoes to make a batch of good thick spaghetti sauce, so for that many jars, you are gonna need a lot - you're probably about there on your plant estimate. So much depends on the variety, the weather, the soil, watering practices...it's like asking "how long is a piece of string?" Better to have too many than not enough, as long as you have the room for them and the energy to care for both the plants and the produce. Good luck and looking forward to seeing your spaghetti sauce recipe. Mine has grape jelly in it.

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Old 01/28/11, 04:02 PM
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One thing to consider before planting acres of tomatoes, is how you're going to support them. Cages vs stakes vs florida weave, etc. They all have their pros and cons, not the least of which is cost. None of them are free.

Thanks for posting your recipes. That's the first thing I thought of too, when I read your post, lol. Curious though, what do you use to 'grind' the onions and peppers for the bbq sauce? Love that recipe. Anything that starts off with 11 onions to 11 cups tomato juice. Gotta love that ratio!

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Old 01/28/11, 04:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by happydog View Post
One thing to consider before planting acres of tomatoes, is how you're going to support them. Cages vs stakes vs florida weave, etc. They all have their pros and cons, not the least of which is cost. None of them are free.

Thanks for posting your recipes. That's the first thing I thought of too, when I read your post, lol. Curious though, what do you use to 'grind' the onions and peppers for the bbq sauce? Love that recipe. Anything that starts off with 11 onions to 11 cups tomato juice. Gotta love that ratio!
Hey that reminds me of a set up that I saw this summer that I'm thinking of trying out. This is a good way to minimize costly stakes;

They had tomatoes growing in rows with thick. strong stakes at the end and middle of each row and a line going across ( three actually set at different heights along the stake). As the tomatoes grow they get tied to the first line, then the second, and finally the third. The whole thing was about 3 feet high (of course you can make it as high as you want depending on your variety and etc).

I thought this was a good idea and beats staking every plant when you are growing a large number of plants.
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Old 01/28/11, 04:30 PM
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That's 320 quarts! Just about a quart per day for a year. How many in the family.

I would cut it to 120 quarts for this year and see how far that goes..

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Old 01/28/11, 05:00 PM
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Thanks for the recipes! The zucchini salsa recipe sounds like a zucchini hot dog relish that my neighbor makes - except there are no tomatoes in it. I got the recipe and canned up a bunch last year and it is GREAT on just about any KIND of meat! I'm anxious to try YOUR recipes this year. Hope you find the spaghetti sauce one!

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Old 01/28/11, 06:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by po boy View Post
That's 320 quarts! Just about a quart per day for a year. How many in the family.

I would cut it to 120 quarts for this year and see how far that goes..
I was kind of wondering the same. I can see using that many tomatoes in a greater variety of foods, but... 150 quarts of spaghetti sauce is enough to use 1 quart of spaghetti sauce on 42% of the days of the year. I LOVE spaghetti. I still don't imagine I'd ever want to eat it 42% of the days of the year.

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Old 01/28/11, 10:47 PM
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You can use spaghetti sauce on all sorts of things. I used to make lots of cassaroles with a spaghetti based sauce when my kids were young. I've even used it on homemade pizza. If you share with family it goes fast too! Everything I canned last summer is GONE as I shared with my DILs who don't have time to can or put in a garden.

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Old 01/28/11, 11:22 PM
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The spaghetti sauce is used for lots of things- spaghetti, chili (it's actually quite good in it, chicken parm, eggplant parm, soups (beef and barley last week- holy cow good) etc.
I want 100 quarts for us and the other 50 would be divided up in the family. We would go through about 100 quarts in a year.

The BBQ sauce we grind so it fits in our meat injector without clogging the "needle". If you don't inject stuff into turkey/beef/chicken/etc then you wouldn't have to grind the onions really fine. We just do it all the same way cuz it's easier than trying to figure out which jar has runny sauce and which has chunky sauce. And we keep it a bit on the runny side for BBQing- lots of thin layers of sauce carmelized onto the meat. It is beyond good and so worth the day it takes. A pig roast will take about 5 quarts, if not more.

The salsa will not last all year, no matter how much I make...... During BBQ's, parties, etc we easily go through 4-5 quarts at a time.


I figured for staking the plants I would do something I saw on Youtube that looked pretty slick- pound 8' pickets 2' or so in the ground about 8' apart (I think) in a long line. Then wrap rope around the pickets all the way down the line so that you end up with a line of rope on both sides of each picket all the way down the line. As the tomato plants grow up, you just keep adding "levels" to the rope. I'm not sure what it's called, but looked easy and sturdy and seemed to work really well for the market growers that were doing it. And they had done it the year before and were doing it again so it must have worked out alright.

Like this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...&v=gjLXGo_n5lQ

I figure if it doesn't work out well, I'll have 50 pickets left over.....and I can always find a use for a picket. lol

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Old 01/29/11, 02:59 AM
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Hmmm I grew 24 tomatoe plants year before last...I was so sick of canning tomatoes and sauce I was giving them away and tossing them to animals. My tomatoe plants got taller than me (and I am 5'2") and man the amount they produced- even though I did nothing but plant them and water them through dry spells! I only planted 4 plants last year for salads and still too many- even though I did not weed or water....but family and friends and animals still enjoyed them too. I still have some sauce, tomatoes and lots of salsa left in the cupboard. I make chili tomatoes, Italian tomatoes, plain spaghetti sauce, meat sauce, sauce for chili, salsa (pineapple, medium and mild). I will plant more tomatoes this year to restock my cupboards, but it will not be 24 plants again! Now it was only 3 of us then and I did mostly pints for tomatoes and sauces, but...I could have done just as many quarts with all I threw out. It seems I spent all summer peeling tomatoes!

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Old 01/29/11, 03:01 AM
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Originally Posted by COSunflower View Post
Thanks for the recipes! The zucchini salsa recipe sounds like a zucchini hot dog relish that my neighbor makes - except there are no tomatoes in it. I got the recipe and canned up a bunch last year and it is GREAT on just about any KIND of meat! I'm anxious to try YOUR recipes this year. Hope you find the spaghetti sauce one!
It is quite similar to my zuchini relish recipe too......was thinking that as I was typing up the salsa recipe.
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Old 01/29/11, 03:10 AM
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Hmmm I grew 24 tomatoe plants year before last...I was so sick of canning tomatoes and sauce I was giving them away and tossing them to animals. My tomatoe plants got taller than me (and I am 5'2") and man the amount they produced- even though I did nothing but plant them and water them through dry spells! I only planted 4 plants last year for salads and still too many- even though I did not weed or water....but family and friends and animals still enjoyed them too. I still have some sauce, tomatoes and lots of salsa left in the cupboard. I make chili tomatoes, Italian tomatoes, plain spaghetti sauce, meat sauce, sauce for chili, salsa (pineapple, medium and mild). I will plant more tomatoes this year to restock my cupboards, but it will not be 24 plants again! Now it was only 3 of us then and I did mostly pints for tomatoes and sauces, but...I could have done just as many quarts with all I threw out. It seems I spent all summer peeling tomatoes!
I would love your pineapple salsa recipe!!

We don't peel the tomatoes, the big ones we might slice in half but that's about it for prepping them (besides washing of course). They all go into this giant grinder/separator thingy (it's 3 am and I am sooooo tired but can't sleep) that separates out the peels and seeds into one side and the pulp and juice into the giant pots which then get cooked. Works like a charm and can process ALOT of tomatoes really quickly.
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Old 01/29/11, 03:27 AM
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That's 320 quarts! Just about a quart per day for a year. How many in the family.

I would cut it to 120 quarts for this year and see how far that goes..
Technically there is just me and DH. But as the only person in my VERY huge extended family that cans and having ALOT of elderly relatives that can't can anymore or are on special diets (diabetes/etc) and then there are our friends and I like taking canned stuff to cookouts/etc. And some of them are addicted to certain things I make so we trade (I shouldn't ever have to buy buckets- thanks to friend who works at Dunkin Donuts), etc. And then there is christmas presents (what to buy for the grandpa who has EVERYTHING including diabetes but can't can anymore.......a case of pickled beets with splenda instead of sugar). When ya factor all that in, 320 quarts really isn't much at all. I have somewhere around 2,000 jars (not that they are ever ALL full at the same time). Oh and the stuff in them will last for much longer than just one year which goes well with gardening- some years tomatoes are great and other years it's the beets.

Oh, and I just *might* be addicted to canning
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Old 01/29/11, 04:18 AM
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I just add a can of crushed pineapple-drained to my regular salsa recipe and a shake of paprika and process as usual. I use it over chicken breast, for chip dip and over ham slices served with my canned sweet potatoes. I also like it on breakfast burritos with eggs, ham and cheese rolled in a flour tortilla.

Can you give me a link to your easy peasy tomatoe processor? I would can more sauce and such if I had something that did most of the work!

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Old 01/29/11, 09:45 PM
 
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I'm with you, Willowynd, I scald the tomatoes, dip in cold water, slip the skins off, cut out the core, then put in food processor, then peel the onions, garlic, peppers and whatever else I wind up putting in the salsa and I'm whipped. I usually put up 40 or 50 pints of salsa and about half than many quarts of tomatoes, and seasoned sauce for cooking with. Sheesh, it wears me out every year, then family, and friends all want a couple of jars of salsa, (cause it's so good) and in bad years, like last year, I don't want to give it away. Maybe one of those squeeso strainers would help with the work, and my attitude.
P.J.

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