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Cherry (Tomato) Picking at the New Hampshire Trial Garden

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It’s finally harvest time at our Canterbury, New Hampshire, trial garden! Deke Jackson, Bonnie Plants Field Representative, sent this update on what’s ripe and what’s on the way.

Cherry tomatoes clustered on vine.
Deke and his daughter are picking lots of cherry tomatoes this week, including Super Sweet 100, which produces beautiful long clusters of cherry tomatoes.

So many new varieties are starting to ripen this week! Some of the beefsteak-type tomatoes are now producing Beefmaster and Big Beef. Lemon Boy is producing lots of large bright yellow fruit. A big producer is Better Boy and it started this week, too. We are also getting purple tomatoes off of Cherokee Purple and Black Krim.

Lots of cherry tomatoes for the food bank this week, too. They come in so many colors: red, yellow, orange, purple. And then so many shapes: cherry, plum, grapes, and pears. Some of them have such huge tresses of fruit, like the Super Sweet 100 (shown above).

My daughter, Chloe (who always reminds me she is almost 10) is my main cherry tomato picker. I “pay” her in hot peppers that the food bank can’t use. She then takes the peppers to the farmers market on Saturday morning and sells them.

Picking cherry tomatoes.
Chloe picks cherry tomatoes in the garden. Not only does Deke learn valuable info from the garden, he uses it as a teaching tool for his family, too.

I am trialing many cherry type varieties this season. Some are determinate in growth habit. At 3 feet tall, they will work well in a container or a small garden. I hope that they will test out well, as they would make good additions to our variety list.

I am seeing some blossoms dropping off the plant without any fruit set. This is because of the heat wave that we had about 10 days ago. Tomatoes just can’t set fruit when the night temperatures are high. Once it cools down, then every thing gets back to normal.

Peppers are doing quite well. We picked our first large bell peppers this week, Yellow Bell and Bonnie’s Green Bell. The banana types have been producing heavily for several weeks. Gypsy is also a very early producer. I have had several people test my jalapeños and have been told that they have good heat to them. So next week we will start picking some of that fruit.

This year we caught our woodchuck early in the season. Last year, he ate so many watermelons, many more than his share. Our fruit set has been great. I think Chloe is also going to be my watermelon picker. Every time she visits the garden, all the melons have to be counted. The thought of having to wait a few more weeks before picking is killing her!