Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Earliest First Tomato of the Year!

I try to record the first ripe tomato in my garden every year.  This year is a record - June 30th!  It's not even July yet, according to the calendar.  The thermostat on the other hand says differently.  It has been blazing hot in Portland, and it's not looking to let up any time soon.

To put this recent heat wave in perspective, I'm usually craving some sun and a hot day on June 30th.  It's usually still reliably 65°f and rainy right about now.  Fourth of July weekend is the first moment a Portlander can expect to see the sun - and she really looks forward to it.

This year, I'm really lucky to be escaping to the coast on the 4th.  I'm looking forward to the clouds and cooler weather - a complete reversal of my usual M.O.!

So, suffice it to say, the weather has been weird this year, and my garden has loved it so far, even though I have been wilting at times.  Without further ado, the much-anticipated photo of my first ripe tomato of the season.  They are supposed to be orange!

Sun Gold Tomato
I grow one of these plants from a start that I buy at the Portland Farmer's Market each year.  Sun Gold tomatoes are a cherry-sized variety that are orange, very sweet, and very early - they are tolerant of the cool spring weather we often have, but love the sun too.  They always ripen before my Early Girls.  The only problem I have with them is that sometimes they are TOO prolific - it's hard to keep up.  Also, they turn pasta sauce orange so it's a bit harder to preserve them.  I end up giving a lot of them away.  However, if you just plant one tomato, think about using this variety.  They are great in a salad.  I planted this one in late April, so it took about 60 days to mature, but I think it can mature in 45 if it's hot.  It's a good plant if you are starting your garden late (like now!).

For some more historical perspective, here is some of my tomato documentation from years past:

2014 - Mid-July
2013 - Mid-July
2012 - July 3rd
2011 - August 5th
2010 - July 23rd
2009 - July 17th
2008 - Sometime in September (I got my garden in late)