Visit My Etsy Store!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

for my next trick, i'll plant the tomatoes too close together.

i planned and prepared, composted and cover-cropped, researched and cross-referenced, and was certain i'd have an award winning harvest this year. then i planted my tomatoes way too close together and over fertilized.

behold the resulting jungle. this photo was taken a couple of weeks ago, back when i had literally not seen one of my plants in the back (a beefsteak variety called "nepal") for a full month because i simply lacked the acrobatic ability necessary to get to it. not only were the poor girls crammed into a bed too small, but one of them is a rambunctious cherry called "matt's wild" who has managed to sprawl into the personal space of all 7 of the other plants. 

i've spent the last couple of weeks hacking away at the foliage, partly so that sunlight can penetrate beyond the first couple of inches, and partly so i could actually see what's going on in there. i've been able to locate the lost plant ("rob! rob! i think i found nepal!"), and i now have an idea of what the yield will likely be. i doubt we'll have enough to put much away, but we'll be set for fresh eating for a while. 

the lovely orange fruits above are called jaune flamme and are tangy and sweet, a flavor much like sungolds. the foliage is droopy and elegant, and the golf ball-sized fruits grow in a cascading pattern. 

the red cherry is the unruly matt's wild. great flavor, and allegedly one of the best tomatoes for salsa, but this plant needs SPACE. 

the pretty yellow ones are called white currant. they are sweet, fruity and wonderful. 

in the back is a variety called black cherry. black tomatoes have a distinct flavor-- it's deeper, earthier, and more perfume-y than the others. unfortunately, the above represents the only harvest we've gotten from this plant. we'll get a handful more before the summer is out, but i want more, MORE! these are my favorites.

the charming heart-shaped tomatoes above are from a plant called anna russian. russian varieties do well in seattle, and this plant is absolutely gorgeous now that i rescued it from a garden center and coaxed it back to life. it won't be a great producer as it got a really late start, but it's totally worth the buck-fifty i spent on it. i haven't tasted this one-- she's a paste tomato, so they are going whole in the freezer until i have enough to make some sauce. 

the sassy striped ones are a variety called tigrella. (seriously, what's with all the drag queen names for tomatoes? tigrella? jaunne flamme? i love my queens.) these are great little tomatoes-- juicy, flavorful, perfect for snacking on right off the vine. this has been one of our better producers, despite the challenges i mistakenly set up for it!

fingers crossed that the brandywines, nepals, romas, mortgage lifters, and polish linguisas deliver pretty soon. i'd sure appreciate a freezer full of garden tomatoes this winter!


  1. Nice! Sounds like you have a pretty decent harvest and harvest potential despite it all! I picked our 1st ripe tomato yesterday and have 2 or 3 cherry tomatoes that look about ripe. And a bunch of greens. That is it. Sad, sad, sad.

  2. well, if i may call BS on the "summer" weather... i mean, how many nights have our tomatoes spent above 52 degrees? poor, cold tomatoes. at least you have gorgeous sunflowers!

  3. Loved the tomato report - thanks for sharing an inspiring! Can't wait for the spring to do some experimenting of my own!

  4. glad you enjoyed it, tony! and do keep me posted on how your own experimentations go!