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Garden snacks add to gardening pleasure

For many years I’ve taken a salt shaker to the garden in the morning with me when checking on ripe tomatoes. There’s nothing in the world that’s finer than to take a bite of a really ripe tomato. It’s one of the things money can’t buy – because all supermarket tomatoes taste insipid by comparison.

The problem is that a bite of a ripe tomato usually results in juice squirted all over your shirt! And who wants to wear tomato juice all day?

In recent years I’ve discovered cherry tomatoes. This year I’ve grown two types – Large Red Cherry, and Yellow Pear.

Large red cherry tomato

Large red cherry tomato is a real winner in tomato taste tests.

The glory of cherry tomatoes is that you can pop them into your mouth, crush out the goodness and spit out the skins, without the drench of your shirt! The Large Red Cherry above will compete with the best tasting large tomatoes in taste.

And Yellow Pear is like garden candy!

Yellow pear tomato

Yellow pear tomato is sweeter and less acid than red cherry types.

Both types are grown in buckets to save my precious garden space for main crop tomatoes and other important veggies. Both will survive and produce in two gallon pots, but I’ve found that they produce much better in five gallon pails. Drain holes are made in the bottom, and an inch of grass clippings or pine straw is added to keep from plugging the  drain holes. Then a mix of about 45% soil, 45% compost and 10% crushed coquina (our soil is very acid) are added to the buckets and the tomatoes set in them much deeper than they grew in their starter pots.

Not only can cherry types be grown in containers, but they will set fruit even in the scorching summer days. Last year, unlike my main crop tomatoes, the cherries produced all through the summer and into the fall.

They’ll never be much for processing; they don’t really produce near enough volume of fruit; but they make a nice addition to your garden, if you can find a few buckets and a place to put them.

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