Valerie’s Tomato Report

I am lovin’ my garden tomatoes this summer!  I wait all year for our tomato plants to fruit and relish every single one I pluck off the vine.  We have had a gorgeous, warm summer here in our Santa Barbara microclimate.  Not only does this mean plenty of family time poolside, but also a bounty of deliciously sweet tomatoes from the garden.

Tomatoes are one of the veggies I like to sneak around in “plant pockets” (you can read about my plant stashing ways here).  I started this method a few years back after realizing the tomatoes planted in my raised beds were a rather pushy crop, taking over and leaving very little wiggle room for other summer veggies.  Now, I grow my tomatoes next to the beds in huge pots that I trellis with wire frames.

Once the season is over, I use the same pots for potatoes.  After we harvest the potatoes, the soil goes into my raised beds, and I put new soil in the pots for the next tomato season. Tomato plants tend not to like being planted in soil that has already been used to grow tomatoes.

In terms of varieties, I love them all. I planted Early Girls back in March that have continued to produce the sweetest fruit long after their leaves have withered. The Early Girls are sweeter than any tomato I have ever grown.  I also have other varieties like Celebrity and Lemon Boy, along with a few heirlooms that are fruiting to perfection.

This year, I decided to stagger my planting to stretch out tomato season as long as possible.  We’ve planted once a month since March, stopping in early August. It might sound a bit unorthodox, but because September and October can be our warmest months in Santa Barbara, it made sense to give it a try.

So, how have your tomatoes been this season?