My husband and I have tried many different hybrid and heirloom tomatoes over the years in our raised beds. Due to our relatively short growing season, some varieties - easpecially those which make very large tomatoes - just don't work out. Regular tomatoes - as opposed to cherry or grape - can have a germination-to-havest time of about 60 - 90 days. I aim for the low end of that range, but I do try to spread the harvest out, so I don't have pounds and pounds of tomatoes all in a two-week window. This year I am going with three tried-and-true varieties, and test-driving one that looked too appealing to resist. Making return appearances this year are:
- Sungolds! Bright yellow-orange cherry tomatoes, on the small side; impossibly sweet, early, prolific: even people who don't like tomatoes like Sungolds. They'll make fruit from the first week in August right up until the frost. Fruit 57 days from germination.
- Oregon Spring. Has one of the briefest growing periods of any full-sized tomato, at 57 days. Good-sized fruit, smooth, and sort of classically tomato-looking. These are nice and flavorful but nothing special; I mostly choose them because if we get a crap summer, as sometimes happens, they will fruit anyway. A pretty good workhorse tomato, they are good sliced or in salsa or sauce. They are my hedge bet.
- Garden Peach - These are on the small side, pale yellow and slightly fuzzy. Sweet and very juicy. Great to eat sliced or in salsa. They struggle during cold or rainy summers, but produce prolifically if the weather cooperates.
And my gamble this year :
- Jubilee - an 80-day tomato, orange with 8 oz fruit. If you can't tell, I favor the yellow & orange varieties! I like to have some red, orange, and yellow in my salsa, so pretty with the dark green bits of jalepeno. 80 days...if I plant on Memorial Day, 80 days is...mid-August? Sounds doable, even if it runs late, because September is often our biggest tomato month.