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Tomato Success! (Or Luck)

The nine month love affair with my tomato plants is finally starting to pay off.


Nine months. I’m not exaggerating. There’s proof. They first invaded my basement way back in January. Our relationship almost ended in February. We triumphed in March. Finally moved outside in May. By July, they actually needed pruning. And that’s just what I’ve written about.

There’s also been countless hours of watering, fertilizing, ad hoc pruning, generalized fussing and sleepless nights. Ok, THAT is an exaggeration. You get the idea. Labor of love. Emphasis on the labor. Yet, here I am surprised that I’ve got the fruits to show for it.

Because I live in Seattle tomatoes are not a summertime guarantee. In fact, they are considered by some (some perhaps referred to as the majority) a fool’s pursuit. Something about summer not showing up until July and overnight temps that often don’t hover close enough to sixty Fahrenheit that deters the growing of the globes of love. There’s science and logic there. Disregard. I tried anyway.

Then I wrote them off. Knowing I couldn’t really grow real tomatoes. I bought somewhere around 70lbs of bulk roma’s for canning whole, as sauce, and most definitely for salsa. I underestimated myself. And the determined nature of the indeterminate tomato. Here I am in Mid-Late-September with success. Tomatoes have been rolling in by the dozens for the last few days. Now what? Prior to that, I had enough to keep me in sandwiches and caprese salad. That I considered winning. This could get ridiculous.

I’m not going to give my newb gardener self much credit here. For all our bitching, Seattle had a beauty-full summer, with the Indian variety upon us now, almost not worth mentioning for fear of its retreat. That’s the luck. If this had been last year, my tune would be different. My tomatoes a lovely shade of green.

Will I grow them again next year? What does the Magic Eight Ball say? Unclear at this time. Something like that. Perhaps thats just now. Tomatoes and I have been together for a while. We need a break. They’ve been smothering me with their needs and then they’re late in giving up the goods. Not a solid foundation for a stable relationship. Even if they are trying to overcompensate now.

But, I did it. Ugly Garden delivers. I grew tomatoes. They are ripe and lovely and ready for something or other. I feel like they need a special duty. These tomatoes of my very own growing. With (nearly) no jars left, full cupboards, and fresh out of inspiration, it’s really kind of hilarious.

What shall I make with them? Suggestions?
What’s growing in your garden that completely surprised you? In a good or bad way.

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Miser Mom

Yay! I love it when our plants survive despite all the ineptitude we throw at them. (Maybe I should just speak about myself, here?). My family had our tomato surprise about two or three weeks ago; despite early threats of suicide, the plants thrived, bore fruit, and declined gracefully. The vines are dying back now.

The biggest surprise in my neck of the woods was the volunteer squash plant that started its life in my compost pile; it gave us almost 20 butterneck squash that we’ve gathered, given away, and/or stored.

Kaitlin Jenkins

I think you should dehydrate them! That’s what I do when I’m over tomatoes for the year. We always appreciate them in the winter on pizzas with dried basil from the garden, mixed into soups, and on sandwiches.


slap ’em in ziplocks, slap ’em in the freezer :) lazy days ensue


Solution: Slow roast in oven with garlic, salt and olive oil. 200 degress for 10 hours. Pull off skins and freeze. No water bathing, or jars I pretty much don’t have, required. Whew!

Crystal Wayward

My garden surprise is a rogue tomato plant with lots of green tomatoes on it. I didn’t even realize it was there until Sunday when we performed some long overdue weeding. I think the little roma plant was a weak-in-the-spring castoff seedling that I threw into an area of the garden where I let Darwin decide what lives and dies.


Trying to grow tomatoes in my Edmond’s backyard is really hit and miss. I guess I’m just a glutton for punishment.

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