It’s August and we’re up to our ears in tomatoes. Which is good, right? But still a little overwhelming. A few weeks ago, this handful of cherry tomatoes was a typical daily harvest.
And now the photo below is typical. (OK, I think this is actually two days worth of tomatoes. Still!)
How did we get here, and what are we doing with all these tomatoes? Let’s recap.
This year I started six varieties of tomatoes from seed, for a total of about 24 plants. I planted a mix of cherry tomatoes, paste tomatoes, and heirloom type tomatoes for fresh eating.
First, the heirloom type tomatoes. I planted two kinds: Martha Washington (large pink fruits), and Cherokee Purple (large green and reddish fruits).
The Cherokee Purple plant is now dead, and only yielded a few tomatoes. Oh well.
The Martha Washington plants have been super productive, and the tomatoes are delicious. I have two of these plants, and because this is a bush variety, the tomatoes are all getting ripe during a relatively short time period. They’re ripening faster than we’re eating them, so we’re giving a lot of them away, which is good. It’s nice to have some to share.
Cherry tomatoes. I like a mix of yellow and cherry tomatoes, so I planted two types. Jasper (red cherry tomato) and SunGold (yellow cherry tomato).
Both are indeterminate, vining types, and I’m honestly not sure how many of these plants I have now. It almost doesn’t matter, because they are running wild, with the vines crawling over the rest of the tomato trellises, so that they’re all mixed in with the paste tomatoes. I finally started pruning the plants yesterday to keep them within reasonable bounds.
We’re eating a lot of these (I like to snack on them), and also giving a lot away. Again, that works. Who doesn’t love cherry tomatoes? Few people turn them down.
Paste Tomatoes: At least half of the total tomato plants I started with this year were paste tomato types, which are typically used for sauce and salsa. They are also bush type plants, so we’re getting a lot of ripe tomatoes at once, as planned. The original idea was that we would do some canning this year, but once again, when it came down to it, that seemed like a lot of work. So we’re eating some of these fresh in the form of salsa, and freezing the rest. (People do this different ways, but I freeze them whole.)
The specific types are Monica and Paisano, and both have been prolific. This is a photo of one of the plants. I think this one is the Monica type. (They look pretty similar, but Monica is supposed to get larger than Paisano.)
So, overall I’m happy with how our tomato harvest has worked out. If I make one change for next year, it may be to plant fewer cherry tomatoes. But I say that every August, and by March, the idea of too many cherry tomatoes sounds ludicrous, so I start as many plants as ever. Ah, gardening.