Extended tomato season

I don’t think it’s any secret that we love growing tomatoes. We live in the pacific northwest, so growing a single tomato requires luck, strategy, the right tomato varieties, cooperating weather and maybe a little magic. Our backyard tomatoes are treated like precious treasures.

In 2009, by some fluke, we harvested more than we could handle. It was insane. Our tomatoes were their own kingdom.

In 2010, we suffered some major challenges and I harvested exactly one cherry tomato from a raised bed of blighted tomatoes. Two contributing factors were terrible weather and us not realizing our new front yard got so many visiting deer. And then we got late blight! Ha ha… I can laugh now. This year, I planted tomatoes in many places so they couldn’t share their blight. We picked out something like 14 varieties of tomatoes to stack the odds against most conceivable tomato maladies. We tucked tomatoes into containers, self-irrigating planters, and mounded bed systems. It seemed like we were behind all season, but that’s why gardeners should keep records. Our first 2011 tomato ripened only 17 days after our earliest 2009 tomato, despite our record-breaking cold, wet spring. We’re regularly harvesting lots of tomatoes every week now. Our weather is stuck in a low-gear of summer; daytime temps have been in the 70s, nights are in the 40s or 50s. It’s not ideal for growing tomatoes, but it’s enough extra time to vine ripen them. I don’t know how long this weather will last, but I’ll keep harvesting as long as they keep ripening. We’ve been eating a lot of pico, TLT (tempeh+lettuce+tomato) sandwiches, and canning sauce, salsa and tomato jam for the dark days to come.

Our kitchen counter:

Isis Candy cherry tomatoes:

Jaune Flamme tomatoes:

We wouldn’t complain if the tomatoes just kept coming at a steady pace until Christmas.


Filed under fall, food, garden

7 responses to “Extended tomato season

  1. We grew Isis Candy in the greenhouse this summer, and they were one of my favorite varieties, although that might be more because they’re so pretty than because of their taste. Sometimes it’s hard to tell.

  2. Ray

    I am so jealous. It was so incredibly hot here in Oklahoma that the flowers literally burnt up the minute them opened. I have nothing but very small (and I mean smaller than cherry tomatoes) jaune flammes to enjoy, and I planted 12 varieties!!!

    Your tomatoes are beautiful.

    • Thanks! I heard that the OK summer was so bad this year some people were growing tomatoes as a fall crop — that blows my mind! My mom said you can’t find zucchini anywhere. (sad for her since she loves zucchini — i offered to mail some)

      • Ray

        Even peppers, which grow crazy here in the heat, have not produced. Cucumbers have been scarce as well. In fact, I can’t really say I’ve seen much of any crop anywhere. It stinks.

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