Every year we have been blessed to be able to grow a garden. Maybe it was little and dear eaten as in our home in Sudden Valley or large and in charge as we have now. As I said we have been blessed to have a garden to grow. And each and every year we learn something new… And this year is no different but I thought that I would nice to share some of the things that we have learn over the years, with that said I still feel as if we are novices or at least are learning to grow our green thumb. Today I wanted to share the little that I have learned about growing tomatoes here in the pacific northwest (West of the mountains).
There is millions of site online and books written about the subject and some of the info is useful but most of it is the same thing over and over again. Here are a few important points that every northwest tomato gardener should know.
- Choose the right variety. You want to choose varieties that take more than 85 days to mature. Here is a list of one’s that work for our climate. Slicing Tomatoes: Stupice, Kootenai, Siberian, Oregon Spring, Celebrity, Slava, Salspring Sunrise, Seattle’s Best, Yellow Brandywine, Black Krim, Green Zebra, Tigerella, Persimmon, Dona, Muskovich, Gregori’s Altai, Early Swedish, Golden Treaure, and Glory of Moldova. Cherry Tomatoes: Gardener’s Delight, Sweet Million, Yellow Pear, Galina, Sungold, Peacevine, Rose Quartz, Gold Nugget, Principe Borghese. Pasta Tomatoes: Monix, Almetia, Viva Italia, Oregon Pride, Milano, Oroma.
- Tomatoes Like Heat: No matter what variety of tomatoes you get they still like heat. If you are going to plant a tomatoes around your house in small flower plots, choose the flower plots nearest to your house that faces south because the heat from your house will heat up the soil and the heat from the outside of your home will help keep the tomatoes warm at night. Or you could use those Wall-o-water things. The Wall-O-Waters look like water filled teepees and they act like mini solar greenhouses. The water absorbs energy from the sun during the day and then releases heat at night, which helps keep the tomatoes warm and growing fast. I think it would be hard to use as your tomato plants got larger but I have heard that it does work.
- Tomatoes don’t like to get wet: This is the hardest thing to do here in the northwest. Don’t misunderstand me, they like water but really only on their roots. Extra water on the plant can cause the tomatoes (the fruit itself) the get blight, or Late Blight. If you are able to plant them near your home you can use the roof of your house to provide some relief from the rain. If you plant your garden in a garden like ours you should use one of those mini green houses that covers just one plant or you could do like one of our friends a use a temp. car carport (the ones made out of PVC pipe and vinyl). Or you could use a barn cloche pictued below.
- Prune as it grows: If you are trying to grow well fruiting plants you want to prune unproductive leaves away as it grows. What this does is put all the plants usable energy into producing fruit (tomatoes) and not into leaves that you won’t be eating. Again don’t misunderstand me when I say prune “unproductive leaves away” I understand you do need some leaves so that the plant is able to get sun light but you don’t need leaves on the bottom of the plant when all the fruit and flowers are at the top.
- Tomatoes love fertilizer, but not too much: I am still working on this mix I just know when I increase the amount of compost I use they grow better then when I use less but, I am not sure how much is to much and how much is to little. Maybe I will figure that out this year, We will see. :- )
- Extending the season: Near the end of the season you will start to notice that there are still large green tomatoes on your plant and you are nearing the end of the season you can pick those green tomatoes and do two things make fried green tomatoes (which are very tasty) or place them in a brown paper bag with a banana in a cool dark place like a cabinet because the gases containing enzymes escaping from bananas will finish ripening the tomatoes.
I hope this helps you have a better tomato experience this year!