One row of greenhouse tomatoes. Photo by Leslie Cox

Drowning in tomatoes but that’s a good thing

If you could see my house right now you would laugh.

Or perhaps groan.

I have bowls and plates filled with tomatoes scattered around on every available surface area in the kitchen and dining room. After today’s harvest they may well take over the living room.

Bet you just cannot guess what John’s very favourite vegetable/fruit species could possibly be, huh? All I can say, it is a darn good thing I love this guy so much because I am drowning in the harvest.

But all is good. We have so many recipes in our repertoire which call for tomatoes and homegrown tastes the absolute best. What we cannot keep up with as they ripen get bagged and put in the freezer or processed or dehydrated.

So…are you curious which tomatoes we grew this year?

Well, there are John’s all-time must-haves: ‘Early Girl’, ‘Sweet Million’ and ‘Harry’s Roma’. The latter is so-named by us since the friend (Harry) of my brother’s buddy’s dad (did you follow that?) would never reveal the true name and has since passed away taking his secret to the grave.

This indeterminate, or vine-type, produces a good crop of fruits in the eight-ounce range with quite a few getting to 12-ounces and up to one pound in size. A great tomato for our spaghetti sauce, zucchini lasagna and moussaka recipes.

There are two ‘Super Sweet’ plants (also called ‘Supersweet 100’) in the greenhouse as well. One of the parents of this F1 hybrid is ‘Sweet 100’ so it is an indeterminate and going absolutely nuts.

For some oddball reason, John has allowed both of these plants to have two leaders. (Like we need more tomatoes!) Well, the vines have reached the 10-foot ceiling and are now traveling horizontally along the rafters. I will need a ladder to reach all the fruits which will develop from the flowers up there.

Also transplanted four ‘Snow White’ plants in the greenhouse – another cherry-type and an indeterminate. This variety is one I initially trialed a few years ago for the school gardens and have kept growing in our garden ever since. The fruits are white as you might imagine from its name, but colour subtly changes to pale yellow as they ripen. They are thin-skinned though and split easily when they are ripe.

This year I decided to trial a few ‘Tiny Tim’ plants on my porch. Last year I grew ‘Micro’ and liked it but there is only so much room amongst my ever-growing potted hosta collection. ‘Tiny Tim’ is of similar size and also a prolific producer. So much so I have had to stake the 12-inch tall plants.

The 24-inch tall ‘Patio’ plants growing in pots have had to be supported as well. Their fruits get about four-ounces in size and though the plants have a stout stem, they will lay over in a wind.

Then there are the ‘Tumbler’ plants prolifically producing in the hanging pots. I’ve just harvested 139 fruits totalling four lb from two pots. The count would be higher but John likes to snack as he passes by.

Carrying on, we put three ‘Stupice’ tomatoes in the veggie garden. I have previously grown this Czech Republic native in pots but decided its hardiness and penchant for producing even in adverse conditions warranted a trial in the veggie bed. Fruits are about four to six ounces.

Last but not least, we are also growing two ‘San Marzano’ tomatoes: one in a pot, one in the ground. I’m doing a height and fruit size comparison against the ‘Harry’s Roma’ but pretty sure they are not a match. I think ‘Harry’s Roma’ may well remain a cold-case mystery.

Stay tuned next column for the tomato taste test results.

Leslie Cox co-owns Growing Concern Cottage Garden in Black Creek. Her website is at www.duchessofdirt.ca and her column appears every second Thursday in the Record throughout the spring and summer months.

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