Although gardeners can be quite adamant about their favorite large tomato, we don’t usually see that much enthusiasm when it comes to the cherry types. Except, that is, when a gardener has grown 'Sungold'.
This indeterminate tomato can easily grow over eight feet tall, and it produces beautiful small round globes of sweetness. They are so good, in fact, that the first year we grew them, not one fruit made it into the house. After that we made it a point to grow at least two plants, which kept us quite happy with a continuous supply of fruit.
The ones we grew bore yellow fruit, but unfortunately we cannot seem to find more seeds for those. We did come across a more common variety that matures to a lovely orange, a somewhat uncommon color for a tomato. All the better, as we enjoy trying new things and I’m sure the flavor will be just as outstanding. How lovely will these orange tomatoes look in a salad!
There are both heirloom and hybrid varieties of 'Sungold' available on the market. Generally you start tomato seeds six to eight weeks before planting outside. If you have the advantage of a protected growing area such as a greenhouse, you can push that a few weeks earlier. In our case we use a gardening system we designed, but you can also use the Wall O’ Waters, which work great to keep the cold air off your plants. All our tomatoes get started mid-March, and if need be are held under protection until the weather is nice and warm. It's also usually easy to find transplants of this popular variety for sale at the garden center in late spring.
Fruit closest to the main stem ripen first, so go ahead and harvest whatever is available. If you find yourself getting too many, which is pretty much impossible in our view, just rinse them off and toss into the freezer. When thawed their skins will slip right off and they can be used in any soup or casserole recipe.
Now that I’m thinking about it, it would not be a bad idea to start a few more plants. You know, just in case.
Gardening Jones is a Pennsylvania master gardener. Learn more at her blog.