One year I tried to plant my tomatoes on the earliest possible safe day. The day after the last possible frost. My girlfriend did the same and we were so happy to have gotten them all in. The next day we had hail and all 9 of my plants died.
In the north we play a game with our tomatoes, wanting to squeeze every possible bit of red goodness out of our plants short lives. If we are lucky, we’ll get a batch producing clear into mid September. If we beg, perhaps til October 1. But by then, several will have split, being over-soaked with rain from some unfortunate shower.
When the splitting begins, I know it’s time to cut away the last green survivors with a long stem. They will slowly, so slowly, ripen over the next month in the fading northern light. This is the secret joy of the northern gardener. I was still eating garden ripened tomatoes last year until mid November, as one by one they turned rosy.