Last year I got my tomato plants in late--way too late. It was the middle of June. Yikes!! I was figuring that a few tomatoes was better than NO tomatoes. And right I was--but still. They would have done much better if there had been more sun.
When I was planting my tomato plants my father-in-law came out to watch and commented several times that where I was planting didn't have enough sun. He stated each time about how much sun his front yard got--until finally I got a little naughty and challenged him. "So you're saying that you want me to plant my tomatoes in your front yard?" His mouth kind of fell open and he stuttered, "No. No that's not what I meant!! No, I think this is a good place to plant them." And then he decided that there was something somewhere that needed his attention!! Ha Ha!! I had a good laugh. Shame on me, I know. But it was a little comical.
Aside from my in-laws front yard, there is an area next to our neighbor's fence line that gets abundant sunshine (one of the benefits of all of our surrounding mature trees is LOTS of shade. But shade isn't a garden's friend, let me tell you!). It is about 10 by 60 feet or so. That's where I plan to plant our tomatoes next year. My cage supports are large (18-24 inches in diameter and 6 feet tall) so I plan to grow vining plants (pickling cucumbers, small pumpkins, gourds, etc...) along the south side of the outside of the cages to try to utilize as much space as possible. I will plant our green beans in the area that we planted our tomatoes last year. DH has said that we can trim a few branches to get a little more sunlight onto the plants. I have this crazy desire to grow and process/store ALL of our veggies for a year. Probably won't happen but it's nice to dream.
I prefer to use non-hybrid, open pollinated, heirloom seeds (those that produce seeds that you can save and replant next year) to help protect the diversity of the many plants provided by our wonderfully created earth. No hybrid tomato can hold a candle to it's far superior heirloom cousin!! The amazing colors and tastes!! Who cares if they're a little less uniform and ripen at different times? Why go for ordinary when you can have the unique and unusual? And that's just tomatoes! So many amazing plants to discover!! I'm obsessed!!
Some of my favorite mail order seed suppliers...
Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
Seed Savers Exchange
Seeds of Change
Territorial Seed Company
Pinetree Garden Seeds (no catalog picture available yet)
Le Jardin du Gourmet Artistic Gardens (herb seed in small inexpensive packets)
I'm SOOOOO... looking forward to spring!! I was having "spring fever" long before winter even officially started! :-)