Sunday, June 9, 2013

Tomato surprises

Sweet pea tomatoes

Well, I have found out why one of the tomato varieties I ordered had the moniker Sweet Pea. Those little tomatoes are the size of a pea!

My experience with the four tomato plants that are now producing in our veggie garden lets me know my track record for ordering online stands. I suck at online shopping. The word “tiny” was right there in the description of the Sweet Pea. I just went back and checked.

Juliet tomatoes
My Juliet plant was supposed to produce tomatoes bigger than a cherry tomato but not huge, or so I thought. Not only is it not bigger, it’s plum shaped. I must have looked at the wrong photo AND the wrong description.

Mountain Magic tomatoes
No surprises with the Mountain Magic variety. So far it is my favorite in the taste department, too. And don’t let the photo fool you. These tomatoes are only about 1.5 inch diameter. Husband Walter was not nearby, so I couldn’t borrow his thumb for a photo that would put the tomatoes’ size in perspective.

The Mexico Midgets variety is my second favorite but the ripening fruit was in a dense tomato jungle that defied me to keep my balance while getting a clear close-up. The abundant tomatoes are about one-half inch diameter with quite a taste packed in those small globes.

One reason I chose these varieties was they were all described as prolific producers. So far they have all lived up to that claim. A garden columnist I read regularly said that the solution to birds' dining on your tomatoes was to plant varieties that produced enough for you and the birds.

So far we have had only two Juliet tomatoes that suffered that fate. Without having to share with birds, we had enough to send about a quart of our mini-maters home with son Walt and his family today. That included all the varieties except Sweet Pea. It has lots of tiny tomatoes, but they are slow ripening.

We enjoy tomatoes and cucumbers in the salads that we have at least every other day. And we both like the bite-sized tomatoes as a quick snack, too.

A harvest of tomatoes, cucumbers and three zucchini hardly gives us gardening bragging rights, though. And some folks who haven’t experienced the joys of grubbing in the dirt and fighting weeds point out that we could buy a lot of veggies for the money we spend on seed and plants.

But they haven’t seen gardening as part of a reasonable entertainment budget as well as mental, physical and occupational therapy for my stroke recovery. Seeing things grow, picking and eating fresh veggies from our own backyard and even thinking about and planning for what's next in our gardening efforts is definitely entertainment and therapy for me.

I tried out that logic on Dear Hubby, and he said it would be accurate if I didn’t include our frequent trips to Coffee Fusion in the budget. Oh, yes, Coffee Fusion. That will just have to be mental exercise for another day and another post. 


  1. Goodness me, I have never heard of ANY of these varieties! They do all look so good, though! Do you mainly eat them cold and sliced and in sandwiches and salads? You should be a tomato expert by fall...I would think every aspect of gardening is wonderful therapy for you! Working your hands in the dirt, the expectation. And of course the coffee!

  2. I so know what you mean about internet shopping!! The times that I too have missed that vital piece of info. which would have made me hesitate before hitting the button;)

  3. I really like the idea of snacking tomatoes. Besides snacking, they are salad ready. Cool. I will have to try the smaller varieties.

  4. i would like to taste the sweet pea maters, have not seen them before. it is hard to shop online and I tend to miss the details.. but i do that in the store to, like reach for a can of one thing and get another.
    so there are many benefits to growing your on veggies and that is a good thing.. i like the grow enough for birds and us.. that makes sense.

  5. I'm new here and wanted to introduce myself. Looks like a great place to visit. I'll be retiring on July 12th and find myself looking forward to it. Reading your blog will be fun.

  6. What an interesting post about your tomato gardening experience! I've never heard of sweet pea tomatoes, but I'll bet they're great in salads!

    My tomato-growing experience been interesting this year, too. I ordered the correct kind of seeds, but the tomatoes being produced are not what they're supposed to be! Instead of canning tomatoes, I've ended up with lots of tiny ones. Great for salads, but not for canning! Oh well...

  7. I love popping those small tomatoes in my mouth throughout the day. Makes dieting so much easier. I didn't know there was a pea-sized kind, so thanks for the info. Darn, my one tomato plant produces a regular sized fruit. Dianne

  8. I haven't heard of any of these tomato types either.
    The Sweet Pea mini is certainly that. How tiny!
    There is nothing like the flavor of home grown maters...yummm....