Tomatoes 2015: A Status Report

by Glenn on May 31, 2015

The 2015 tomato season is underway here in Portland. This is a one-month status report. Ten tomatoes went in on April 26, which was a little aggressive, but it’s been such a mild winter and spring that I thought we could risk it. I have since learned that a better approach is to plant some tomatoes in April but keep them covered and then to plant the rest uncovered in May. Nevertheless, things have turned out pretty well—90% are thriving.

Here is how things looked the day after we planted.

Here is how things looked one month later, on May 25. The soil is mostly clay, so we’ve been trying to improve it. Perlite to break things up a little bit and several yards of compost for this and other beds around the house. Also, we’ve got Hazelnut (filbert) shells for slug protection. I don’t know if slugs go for tomatoes or not, but I’m not taking chances and have heard they don’t like the sharp edges of the shells. I also understand they don’t like eggshells or coffee grounds. We don’t use a ton of eggs, but we’re putting over a pound of used coffee grounds into the garden each week.


Last year, we had three tomato plants that were miraculous producers. I only wish I could remember what they were, exactly. They were of the cherry size—a yellow pear, an orange something, and a red something. The caprese salads last summer were remarkable.

This year I thought I would take pictures and make notes so that if we are in the tomato business again next year we can bring back the good ones and replace any losers.

Here are the tomatoes in order from left to right.


Tomato No. 1: Beefsteak


Tomato No. 2: Hybrid Cherry Tomato “Indeterminate”


Tomato No. 3: Bonnie Original Hybrid “Indeterminate”


Tomato No. 4: Chocolate Cherry


Tomato No. 5: “Moby Grape”

We did have one casualty. Tomato No. 6, the Roma, had some problems. We don’t know if it was a cut worm or just planting trauma, but it did not make it.

Tomato No. 6: Roma

Tomato No. 6: Roma

In Tomato No.6’s place, we have planted a Golden San Marzano (inside the cage) plus a couple of volunteers we found that somehow survived from last year. No idea what they are or if they will make it.


Tomato No. 6 Replacement: Golden Marzano and volunteers from last year.


Tomato No. 7: “Red Pear”


Tomato No. 8: “Yellow Pear”


Tomato No. 9: “Sun Gold”


Tomato No. 10: “Early Girl”