Seattle's summers are questionable for tomatoes.
Summer here is reliably dry, and almost generally sunny. But that weather often starts in late June or early July. And here it is, August 28th. The first rains have begun and the nights are closing in again.
Our growing season is short and our nights are almost always cool.
The typical tomato season is like this:
Tomatoes sit there for weeks.
Late June: Summer begins. Tomato plants take off.
July: Huge crop of green tomatoes on lush, sprawling plants. Gloat a bit.
August: first tomato ripens. Tomatoes begin shyly blushing red, one by one. I eat one, not quite ripe, pretending it is as rich and juicy as I want. Gloat a bit more.
Mid-August: real tomatoes. Never quite how David remembers them as a boy but plenty good enough.
End of August: first rain
Early September: all tomatoes succumb to late tomato blight.
I have taken to growing my tomatoes in a greenhouse. This year I planted them on red plastic mulch. This is supposed to reflect red light back into the plants and hasten ripening. It certainly helps suppress weeds.
Here are the plants when I poked them through the mulch, around mid-April.
The bricks are my path. They also absorb and release heat to help stablize the temperature from day to night.
You must be brave and cut off all the side shoots. They are competing with the trunk for air and light. The plant will be fine and the tomatoes will be better without them. Really.
In mid-August, cut off the top of the main stem. After that, keep cutting any shoots that try to become the main stem. You don't want more tomatoes at this point. You want the ones you have to turn red.
Here is my row of tomatoes, like a chorus line, flaunting their ripening goodies.
I feel like I should offer some recipes, but most of mine are very simple.
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