You grew how many?

That’s right I counted over 180 individual tomatoes grown in my California backyard. Four different types at the beginning, three survivors, and by now, a clear winner.

My Valley Girls
Subtlety sweet but packed
with meat

I eat them off the vine
steam bubbles from the torn stems – but really though,

there are so many

Truly though – the Valley Girl was not my favorite. Easiest to grow. Every single seedling of these grow into a bush. Not at all ideal for California summers. The chemical in theses particular ones that makes them red seems to deactivate with severe heat; which being in the Valley, made for some strange discolored maters. But they were heavy and juicy all the same.

Sun Golds Glows

The best for second in the list? These were by far my favorite and everyone else’s favorite as well. Bright orange specks is all you see as you look along the plant line, some of them so ripe already they’ve burst on the vine. Sun Gold are the perfect salad tomato. Easy as dirt to grow and so truly sweet and flavorful, they go with everything. My one complaint, if I must, these plants are rather unwieldy and you should have a good trellis or vine plan in place before you even think about putting thing in the ground.

Black Cherry is what you see intertwined with Sun Gold above. These are an indeterminate, sprawling, heirloom like, beast. Their flavor is not always consistent, some even sour on my tongue in hot days. Towards the end of the harvest (more about this later) these slowed down production and I trimmed a huge chunk of the plants themselves to encourage more growth as the Sun releases Southern California from this heat haze of August.

The Hierloom Problem

Indeed, a uniquely beautiful tomato but a tomato with some baggage, if I may. Nothing to do with age here, old lady but these were the hardest of them all to grow. Perhaps the most rewarding in some few ways; those same few that I actually managed to grow. Sheltered from the sun, in every way I could, these Pink Berkeley burned starting what seemed like sunrise.

True – they were packed with flavor that I honestly, I don’t think I liked. When added to dishes, I found them difficult to work with and was responsible for unwanted pepper.

Lessons Learned from a First time Home Gardener

  1. Pick your fruit every day. Literally, every day.
  2. There is such a thing as too much sun (RIP Comrades)
  3. Put manure in everything.
  4. Neem Oil is the worst.

But really – one last point about Neem Oil. Wear every layer you own because it soaks through down into everything with its…stench. It does work wonders as a natural insecticide.

Autumn is on the horizon – what should I grow? I’m thinking pumpkins.


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