Fresh Tomatoes

It’s September and we’re smack in the middle of our short tomato season. I’ll admit it, we’re tomato snobs. If a tomato doesn’t come out of our garden we don’t eat it. So for too many months of the year we go without fresh tomatoes. Then when they’re in season we pig out on them. When we have too many to eat fresh we freeze, can, or dry them to enjoy through the winter months. As frost threatens we’ll pick everything off the vines and either let them ripen on the counter or eat fried green tomatoes. Some years we can still be eating fresh garden tomatoes at Thanksgiving.

‘Sungold’ Cherry TomatoesBellingham can be a slightly challenging place to grow tomatoes because we don’t get a lot of summer heat. Our garden is situated in the triangle between two streets so the microclimate is slightly warmer than some other vegetable gardens in town. We grow our tomatoes from seed, starting them inside in the spring and then transplanting them out in May. We use wall-o-waters around them to get them going. This year we were a little slow getting them in the ground so we didn’t have any ripe tomatoes until after the first of August. We like to have them by the last week of July.

In any case, we’re now eating tomatoes as fast as we can to keep up with the bounty of our eight or ten plants. We grow ‘Sungold’ (pictured) and ‘Sweet Million’ cherry tomatoes along with ‘Siletz’, a good slicer, and ‘Oregon Spring’ which is tasty and a little firmer than ‘Siletz.’ We get all our seed from Territorial Seed.

The ‘Sungold’ cherry tomatoes are definitely one of our favorites. They’re very sweet, flavorful, and just the right size to pop the whole thing in your mouth at one time.

One of the advantages of the garden as photo studio is choosing which plants to grow, and being able to shoot conveniently whenever the conditions are just right. Sometimes I have to ask Natalie to hold off picking the produce until I’ve finished photography. These particular tomatoes were photographed about a week ago and are long gone. But there are more on the vines ready to be picked and enjoyed.

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