Heirloom TOMATOES… the VIBRANT COLORS of SUMMER

Heirloom TOMATOES… the VIBRANT COLORS of SUMMER !

We have reached one of my favorite times in the Vegetable Garden- the start of the Tomato Harvest.   This year we planted 14 different varieties of Heirloom Tomatoes – from tiny cherry tomatoes to huge yellow Pineapple.  But what always strikes me when I put a group of them together and admire the range of colors is that these incredibly sweet and meaty treats put on a great display when they are fully ripe.  They run the range of the softest pink to the deepest dark red; sunny green with stripes of yellow; sunflower yellow, tangerine orange and all the striped combinations in between.  A beautiful pallette of colors for any food artist.

This year I went to a huge plant sale at a local arboretum in the Los Angeles area and also grew some from seeds that a friend started for me.  The smaller plants quickly caught up with the large ones and they are all over seven feet tall.    See the pictures of some of the beds about 5 weeks after planting and how they look now.  It is a Jungle out there!

Make sure you net to protect against animals!

Another bed last year above newly planted and below grown and netted.

I am not sure if the Bat Guano fertilizer I used when they just started putting out flowers did the trick, but this was my best crop ever and there will be tomatoes at least for the next 2-3 months.  

I started with about 8 ” of excellent fresh organic soil in new beds ( had not grown any nightshade vegetables in that area before) and I planted Basil seeds in between the plants so now I have plenty of pesto for my pizza and pasta dishes.

I’m sure you have your favorite ways to use tomatoes!   Eating warm from the sun and  fresh from the vine while the juice drips on my feet is the best.

Roasted Tomatoes

Heirloom Tomato Sauce

Heirloom Tomato Salad

Not that you need any more encouragement to eat fresh tomatoes, but you should know in  addition to being colorful “characters” that we enjoy looking at, Tomatoes are an excellent source of carotenes, the anti-oxidant pigments (Lycopene, Beta Carotene, etc) that provide protective effect against certain cancers.   

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