The Violet Fern

A Colorful Tale of a Garden in the Making

What’s Growing: Tomato Sauce & Freezer Pesto

3 Comments

I love my Potager. I would love it even if it did not produce a large amount of vegetables although it usually does. It is not just a crop to be harvested, it is a sacred place for me. All the plants have been carefully plotted and planned to work together and yet it still manages to sneak in a surprise or two. They grow upward, onward and intertwine. There is always a “moment” to catch – a humming bird attracted by the red blooms of the Scarlet Runner Beans, a bumble bee tipping the delicate disks of Blue Scabiosa, a Robin perched on top of the rustic arbor, a flushed rabbit …


This year I planted Morning Glory among the runner beans, Cardinal flower beneath the peas, and Cathedral Bells along with the cherry tomatoes. Now, the Morning Glory masks the fading bean leaves and the Cardinal Flower blooms where there are no peas. The Cathedral Bells have yet to bloom but I see they have reached the top of the trellis and their leaves have a touch of purple to them and look fresh – not like the leaves of the cherry tomatoes that are growing tired.


I love this climbing Nasturtium Moonlight. It mixes wonderfully with the “surprise” ornamental gourds that began growing up the rustic arbor.


I have made three batches so far of tomato sauce which I freeze in jars. I cook them down skins and all and smooth using an immersion blender. I only add balsamic vinegar, basil, garlic, salt and pepper. This year I came across so many wonderful heirloom tomatoes between Cross Island Farms on Wellesley Island, the community garden and a very talented friend on Round Island. I am attempting to save some of their seeds. They are fermenting now on the back porch. So far, they do not smell too strongly. (Click here to read about how to save heirloom tomato seeds from a previous post.)

I don’t believe my one German Striped Tomato plant has flowered yet. It may be too late. It is probably also too late for this eggplant. We will see but try, try again (next year).

With the dry, hot summer many of my plants bolted including the Cilantro. I chopped it down mid-summer and scattered the seed. I have a new fresh crop that I am really enjoying. This year I am going to harvest it and freeze it in oil for cooking all winter. And this year I finally harvested the Basil at its peak before too cold nights. I have a nice batch of freezer pesto.

Plenty of kale and collards for soups this season!

Carrots, golden beets and possibly a parsnip or two next. 

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Author: Kathy Sturr

Author of the Violet Fern blog, artist, and master gardener.

3 thoughts on “What’s Growing: Tomato Sauce & Freezer Pesto

  1. I love that back view of the potager…and the idea of planting flowering vines amongst the climbing veggies…quite a harvest…I am starting my eggplant and peppers indoors earlier to get more of a head start for them…I just love visiting your gardens Kathy!!

  2. It's always great to see pictures of your potager, yours was a major part of my inspiration for creating one of my own. I wonder if you've ever tried extending your growing season with coldframes (I like the ones I see using old re-purposed windows) or low tunnels with plastic sheeting, especially since your season is so short. I'm trying it this year for the first time.

  3. Beautiful photographs, I like such gardens. I am greeting

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