First Tomato of the Season

We ate our first tomato of the 2011 growing season on June 24, just days after the Summer Solstice. This isn’t the earliest tomato I’ve grown, but it’s been a cold, slow year so by those standards we are right on target.

The winning variety this year is ‘Ditmarsher’ a compact, tumbling determinate variety that takes very well to containers and window boxes. I started the seeds on March 20.

I first heard about this variety from my friend Julianna, the queen of tomatoes in these parts. It quickly became a favourite and one I always plan to turn to as a reliable early-producer. Like ‘Whippersnapper’ (a variety that is often the first producer of the year) it produces loads of pinkish, cherry-sized tomatoes. They just keep coming. Just look at the plant above. It’s laden with flowers that will become future tomatoes. Between it and the three others like it that I have in even larger pots, we should be set for cherry tomatoes for the remainder of the summer months.

If any of my other tomatoes are even half as productive, I’m going to have to go on a serious Nightshade Family fast come fall.

Gayla Trail
Gayla is a writer, photographer, and former graphic designer with a background in the Fine Arts, cultural criticism, and ecology. She is the author, photographer, and designer of best-selling books on gardening, cooking, and preserving.

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6 thoughts on “First Tomato of the Season

  1. Hey, congratulations! The first tomato of the season may be the biggest event of each gardening year. IF FOR NO OTHER REASON THAN THE TASTE. I have a bunch of green pups hanging out there, but I already know who’ll be red and the first in my mouth. It’s the same every year… Mexican midgets.

  2. I’m hoping to get my earliest ever tomato this year! It will be a purple russian (I don’t include cherry tomatoes the the “first tomato” race because they’re too easy). Usually I don’t get a slicer or beefsteak until late July. I’m hoping this one will be ready in a couple weeks.

  3. I’m so jealous! Are you pruning your tomato plants at all, or just letting them run rampant? I have these gigantic tomatoes (Moneymaker) which have set some fruit, but they’re all at least 4.5 feet tall, and I’ve started pinching off the new leaves. My Tiny Tom plants are laden with flowers and the bushiest plants I’ve ever seen. Every day I look at the plants and wonder if I should prune more. This is my first successful gardening attempt, and I just don’t have the heart to destroy what I’ve partially created! :D

    I really enjoyed your book Grow Great Grub, which I’ve used as a reference for this year’s container garden. Thank you!

  4. Sarah: I do not prune the dwarf or determinate tomatoes… only the indeterminates are pruned. Let your ‘Tiny Tom’ stay bushy.

    Daedre: It will be a while yet for my indeterminates. It was a slow year and I was late getting them in the soil.

    Jodi: I know! The first few are such a big deal.

  5. Ciao Gayla-

    Oh I’m so happy you’re loving Ditmarsher and Whippersnapper as I have! I’ve started a tradition of rotating these varieties each year. This is my Whippersnapper year and we’re just starting to get ripe ones also. I sowed them early as always, but had a bit of a snag when I wasn’t able to create a hanging contraption when they outgrew the lights, so they were anemic and rootbound at planting time, which set them back.

    They’ve come back like gangbusters since then and as usual, they’re coinciding with our big lettuce harvests, so we’re enjoying daily green garden salads these days as I’m sure you and Davin are!

  6. My Whippersnapper is producing gangbusters now too … there’s one red one on it waiting to be eaten … I also picked up a little micro tom and it’s really trying to get there as well.

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