The Q&A Archives: Short Season Tomatoes

Question: I have just moved to Washington. How well do tomatoes grow here without much sun? Is there any technique that helps a newbie to grow them here?

Answer: Western Washington is known for its high rainfall and short cool summers, which makes growing big, juicy beefstake type tomatoes a real challenge. Luckily, the tomato breeders at Oregon State University have taken pity on us and come up with some pretty decent new varieties. 'Big Beef' produces 6" fruits in 80-85 days, 'Nicklow's Doubletake' averages 1/2 pound fruit in 85 days, 'Santiam' and 'Oregon Spring' produce 3" fruit in only 65 days. If you're more interested in heirloom varieties, try 'Peron Sprayless', 68 days, 'Brandywine', 85 days or 'Mortgage Lifter'. Both seeds and plants are available at most well-stocked nurseries, or you can order direct from Territorial Seed Company ( Territorial has an outstanding catalog, filled with lots of season extending ideas and handy tips for gardening in the Pacific Northwest. Request a catalog by phoning (541) 942-9547.

Good luck with your new garden!

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