True confessions of a tomato gardener

Before this year, I've never been able to successfully grow a tomato larger than a roma.


I said it.

Yes, it's true. Despite successfully growing all sorts of plants (edible and otherwise), I haven't ever been able to grow large tomatoes. And my shame has been compounded by the fact that Hubby is a tomato lover and connoisseur bordering on "tomato junkie".

Oh the horror.

I thought I would be forever doomed to a life of growing small tomatoes...

...until this year.

Our growing season is very long. We can put in tomatoes as early as March and have them ready for a mid-summer harvest. Usually that's what I do. This year I didn't.

I put in the tomato seedlings from our local nursery center about 2 months later in the growing season. Despite my track record, I hopefully put in a beef steak variety as well as cherry and roma.

As I was watching other gardeners blogging about their garden bounty, I tried to hang on to the hope that our jungle of rapidly growing tomato plants would eventually produce something other than massive green stems. Of course, the cherry tomatoes started producing fruit first and I figured, "Oh well, I should have known better than to hope."

Then Hubby noticed a larger tomato growing in among the tangle of vines. I noticed another. And then another.

"Please, oh please let one of them ripen to maturity," I said to myself.

Hubby assured me that even if the big ones never ripened, they were big enough to try fried green tomatoes. That made me feel a little better. A little.

Late yesterday evening Hubby came in with his hands behind his back. And with a little flourish he produced the surprise. A ripe beef steak tomato bigger than the palm of his hand! He cupped in two hands and I marveled.  I hadn't even seen it ripening. But he had. And he was thrilled to harvest it (I'm glad he did because I have a skin allergy whenever I brush my bare arms against tomato vines).

We photographed the miraculous beef steak for posterity before Hubby dissected it to become part of his nightly salad. If I didn't have photographic evidence I think I may still be in disbelief that I actually managed to grow that thing.

P.S. This tomato was grown completely organically. No pesticides. No fertilizer. Just organic compost dug into the soil before transplanting the seedling. Thanks to the birds and predatory insects in my garden, I don't have to worry about tomato-eating bugs.
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  1. March, seriously!!?? Wow, I am impressed, and jealous. We are lucky if we get to plant garden items by the end of May, and then we're just in the last couple of weeks, finally getting ripe tomatoes. Our season is painfully short, and usually mild, with a couple weeks of seriously hot thrown in just to make us appreciate the mild. Did I mention we also get a lot of rain? Well, yeah...rain is not in short supply in Oregon. That one is a beauty!!

  2. C-ingspots: Yeah, we've got a super-duper long growing season for summer veggies. So long in fact, that we can get in two crops and two harvests. Plant in March and get a mid-summer harvest... then plant again in mid-summer and get a fall harvest before Thanksgiving.

    The downside is that we can't grow lettuce, cauliflower, spinach, peas and cabbage in the summer like you can. We have to plant those in late autumn and grow them as winter crops when we have cooler temps and rain. So no garden lettuce for salads in the summer. :-(

  3. Awwww he is a real sweetie.

    I am with C-ingspots, we are lucky to get anything out there by mid May...and I had tomato envy for months.

    Good for you to grow em that big without adding any fertilizer, or pesticides.

    Mine got only a bit of organic fertilizer, we don't have compost yet, maybe next year.

    Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

  4. Yummy! Congratulations on your monster tomatoes!

  5. Some say "beef good"... I say "tomato good"

  6. Congratulations! My mouth was watering at that beauty. I love tomatoes--all sorts, all sizes.


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