Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Lo and Behold

Here it is, folks. Our first ripe tomato!

Hrumpf, you say. That's a mighty puny excuse for a tomato. Au contraire, mon cheri, I say. This isn't a regular size tomato. It's one honkin' big (as you can see by the comparison to one of our eggs) cherry tomato.

The cherry tomatoes usually do ripen before the regular ones, and this variety - the Washington Cherry - has always been a good one for us in our garden. The plants have had approximately two gazillion green tomatoes in evidence for ages and are so big I can no longer completely close down the cold frame tops at night to give them maximum protection from the cooler air. I kept wondering when one of the tomatoes would turn just a little orange, please? Well, finally last Thursday, July 31st, this one started to color up. And once it got started, it didn't take too long to fully ripen. I picked it yesterday.

This is the year I'm supposed to grow enough full sized tomatoes to harvest so I can can my year's supply of stewed tomatoes. I've got cold frames over three garden beds with full size tomatoes in them and seventeen plastic wrapped wire cages where a variety of heirloom tomatoes are living in comfort. Although I see lots of blossoms, unless I'm missing something, I can find only a few tomatoes, mostly about 3" across and very green.

The only people I've ever heard of who have grown enough tomatoes up here to can are those with greenhouses. I know I've never come close to managing the feat. When we lived in Illinois, the first October frost that killed the tomato plants was almost welcomed. By that time I had made and preserved every possible tomato product I could think of. We had stewed tomatoes galore, catsup, tomato sauce, paste and juice, salsa, on and on. Ah, to have even half of one of those harvests up here in the frozen tundra. Sigh.

You'll have to excuse me now. I'm going to go sit down at the kitchen table and enjoy our first tomato of the season. I'll even share!

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