Our neighbor - the one who grows amazing amounts of tomatoes in his yard and sells them wholesale - came in to where I work today . He asked about my garden and I told my tale of woe, that I didn't make tomatoes either at home or in my borrowed garden plot.
The vines looked good but most didn't fruit and those that did had poor quality. I told him I am going to try once more next year, and do things differently. He shared some tips with me, including the variety he likes best (Carnival), and to be sure and water every single day. He cages his, which I have not been doing but will do next year. And he told me not to put plastic under them as it will get too hot.
I bought a couple of flats of green tomatoes from him. Some of these green tomatoes I am going to store for ripening. My friend wraps each one in newspaper, and puts them in a single layer in a soda flat and stores them under a bed. She said she just took them out as needed, and each one ripened, and they all kept until they used the last of them in February.
Our neighbor said he has the best luck storing the ones that have gotten closer to beginning to ripen, that have turned a bit yellow-green, while the dark green ones don't keep as well.
One flat of the small, hard green tomatoes, I am going to use to make Chow-Chow. I do have my own onions and bell peppers for it, and I would have had to buy the cabbage anyway. I think the tomatoes will qualify as "local" since they were grown within 50 yards of the house! Heh! With luck I will be able to do that on Wednesday evening. Yum, I can't wait!
Dec 28th: Edited to add a link to the follow up post. Click here to check out how the green tomatoes are doing after two months of storage.