I think I’ve mentioned in passing that I started getting some ripe tomatoes the second week of August. They just came on a few at a time for awhile, but last week (which coincided with our first “real” summer warm weather) I harvested quite a few.
I think I’ll be able to make a batch of Roasted Tomato-Vegetable Sauce for the freezer this week- yeah!
I thought it would be fun to talk about which ripened earliest for me here in the Pacific Northwest and to find out which varieties ripened earliest for you.
The first tomato that ripened for me is on the right: an “ultra-early” tomato (so dubbed by Territorial Seed Co.) called ‘Glacier’. I grow it just for the early tomatoes- they only produce about 20 smallish tomatoes (the size of a tennis ball on down to ping-pong ball size) before quitting- but they ripened at the same time as the ‘Black Cherry’ tomatoes and well before the grape and regular cherry tomatoes.
By the way, I didn’t include the grape and cherry tomatoes in the picture- they are by nature early, and I’m interested in the slicing (and paste) tomatoes that ripen first. Though the Black Cherry tomatoes were the earliest and biggest of the cherries, and were great tasting with a fun color. Thanks, Shannan!
The middle tomato is an ‘Early Girl’, and it ripened a few days after ‘Glacier.’ I’ve grown many different types of tomatoes over the years and I’ve found that Early Girls consistently give me some of my first tomatoes of good size (baseball to softball-sized), and continue to produce beautiful fruit until frost without succumbing to the wilt that gets so many tomatoes in our damp climate. If not for these and the paste tomatoes, there would have been years I wouldn’t have been able to can and freeze very many tomato products.
So even with the current heirloom craze, I will never have a tomato garden without at least one plant of Early Girl hybrids as a insurance policy of sorts. *smile*
The ‘Viva Italian’ paste tomatoes in the front were the third tomatoes to ripen- and I was surprised that they beat the ‘Roma’ tomatoes I’ve planted for many years. In fact, I stopped growing the Viva’s in favor of the Romas a few years ago. The only reason I have a plant this year is because that was all I could find at the nursery to replace the slug eaten seedlings I lost. Guess I’ll have to grow a couple of each, now.
And the large yellow tomato on the left was the surprise for me. Its a ‘Pineapple’ heirloom that I’m growing for the first time and it took fifth place in the tomato contest.
Umm…fifth? What happened to fourth?
Funny you should ask…forth place went to ‘Cherokee Purple’ which is my favorite heirloom, so I ate it! Sorry…well, not really. *blush*
Back to the ‘Pineapple’ – it was a surprise because it’s so large (larger than the Cherokee Purple) and yet ripened only a few days later. I haven’t tried it yet (see- I have some restraint), but if we like the flavor, this is a keeper. I love finding heirlooms that ripen early.
What tomatoes ripened for you earliest? Which will you always grow?