Saturday, August 1, 2009


Oh, bestill my heart.
The tomato season is upon us.
This summer has been one of record-setting heat
that tomatoes relish!
No rain and all sun is a recipe for long-lived tomato vines,
producing copious quantities of the globular nuggets that the passer-by can't help but pick and pop into one's mouth to savor the sweet succulence.

I thought since it is the season for 'maters', that I'd take a few photos of the tomato plants that I've grown since May, purchased as starts at the annual King County Master Gardener Plant Sale in Seattle. Please excuse the brightness of the photos, but the sun has been blindingly sunny anytime I seem to snap shots lately. This morning was no exception.

Let me introduce you to 'Tumbler'. This one is a nice compact determinate plant, specially bred for hanging baskets. This is the first year I've grown it. It wasn't in a basket, but you can see it is heavy with fruit, tumbling toward the ground. There are seriously more tomatoes than leaves on this baby;
my neighbor has one and it is the same. The tomatoes are some of the first to ripen (45-55 days) and are delicious.
I give this a four out of four-splat rating; a definite 'must' for next year.

Here's a favorite of mine, 'Sungold'. This indeterminate amazon of a disease-resistant plant produces plenty of juicy, deep orange-gold, bite size tomatoes. It is one that I've grown the past 5 years and it hasn't disappointed me yet. It also gets a four-splat rating and will be a staple tomato every year.
(This one sells out quickly at the MG Sale too,
so you- or a friend :) - have to snag one of these early.)

Above is 'Northern Exposure'. A determinate, disease-resistant, tomato plant bred for our short, cooler summer season in the PNW. It is a compact plant and has quite a few fruits on it this year. Last year it did too, but was very disappointing--although it is supposed to ripen in 67 days, they never really ripened for me, even by the end of the summer last year. They seem stuck in green limbo again this year, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed I won't be using these in recipes calling for green tomatoes.
So while I give the show 'Northern Exposure' two thumbs up,
I'm withholding final judgment on this tomato until the end of the season.

And the final tomato of the season...'Italian Ice'. This beauty is indeterminate and claims to yield "uniquely sweet tomatoes that ripen from green to ivory white" in 65 days. I can see hints of white on many of them now and am getting anxious to taste them! But until I can, I have to withhold my wildly-anticipated splat-rating. So I'll have to say 'ciao' for now, and inquire...

Do you have any favorite tomatoes you grow for your climate?



  1. As a tomato lover, I appreciate your post and pictures! My tomatoes are doing good. Those in the ground are doing better than those in containers. Probably, I need to buy bigger pots. I wrote down some of the names. Thank you Aerie-el!

  2. It sure is a wonderful season for tomatoes. Here in the Pacific Northwest, it is usually not the best for tomatoes, but this year my tomato vines are heavy with fruit. This year I planted a heirloom variety called Black Russian, and I see that the first one has started to darken. I can hardly wait to taste it.

  3. You have many more tomatoes than me! Mine are doing pretty well, but not as great as I would've thought. We've been fighting over the Great Wall of China tomatoes as they ripen though, and I see lots of grape tomatoes on the vine. I like 'Tumbler' I'd love to try those in a hanging basket next summer.

  4. Hi Aerie_el,

    Your tomato plants look healthy and lush and the fruit looks tasty. I'm growing two cherry types: 'Sugary' and 'Sun Sugar' which has a few ripening now. Last year I grew them in large galvanized wash tubs [with drainage holes]. This year they're in the ground and lots happier.

  5. I have not grown tomatoes in a long time, being a city apartment dweller. But I love to eat tomatoes, and these are some fine examples!

  6. I have a big aversion to tomatoes, for some reason, always have. Not sure why! I was a picky eater as a kid but learned to like most stuff, just not these. Too bad, since my mom is a huge tomato grower and this is definitely the summer to have planted them! Glad yours are (mostly) performing so well. I have to ask my mom if she has 'Tumbler' - I know she has grown Sungold and I can find out what her other tried & true's are. Hope you are cooling off this week, whew, what a crazy weather year!

  7. Love the pictures! Have you ever tried "Fourth Of July" By Burpee? They grow great and everyone loves them. Click on my name to see my picture.


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