Saturday, April 19, 2008
By the end of August each year I am so tired of even the thought of tying up another tomato plant or loading up another basket of grape tomatoes, I'm just waiting for that killing frost. But then, in December, the Spring seed catalogs start to come...
In Minnesota, the growing season is quite short, compared to other areas of the country. We can pretty much count on about 90-110 days of frost-free weather, which somewhat limits the kind of veg and fruit we can grow.
But there's the tomato! Oh, how I love them. We all love them. Last year, I grew nine varieties, including some nifty heirloom tomatoes of unbelievable flavor and color.
This year, I'm going to try some "Whopper" tomatoes from Park Seeds, and a couple of new "currant" type tomatoes, so small that three ripe fruits can fit on a dime. Also, I'll be revisiting some of the heirlooms from last year, the Brandywine, the Big Rainbow and the Black Krim, plus the usual Golden Girl, Yellow Pear and plain old Grape.
I gave up on Cherry-types, like the Super Sweet 100, primarily because they are so incredibly prolific, but the fruit doesn't keep for more than a day. I was constantly overrun with fruit flies because my cherry tomatoes were turning to the dark side the day after they were picked. We just couldn't keep up.
The kids just love the little tomatoes. They're always out in the garden with bulging cheeks and full pockets, so it's a good thing that all of the small-fruiting tomatoes are indeterminate and just keep on going from the middle of July until the frost.
This afternoon, I was mucking around the vegetable garden, gradually getting things ready, and found just a couple of little, dried out yellow pear tomatoes that missed the fall clean-up. It was funny to see them out there, unmistakably out of their season, but so at home there in the dirt. I wonder what would happen if I buried them after a winter on the ground.