My cherry tomatoes have worked a miracle: they’ve made me regret the passing of summer. I don’t like summer. Almost every year it settles in like an occupying army and I just have to put up with it until it goes away. I love fall. Fall slips in, darts away, plays catch-me-if-you-can. Night closes in slowly from both ends of the day, polishing the remaining daylight hours till they sparkle, and the leaves rarely stop rustling. Summer’s torpor gives way to vigorous activity. I love the warm feel of flannel.

This year, as summer gives way to fall, my tomato vines are still laden with green cherry tomatoes. For several weeks I was picking between eight and a dozen most mornings. Now, as direct sunlight decreases and the temperature slips downward, they’re ripening more slowly. The other morning, the thermometer said 45 degrees when I went out, clad in long-sleeved shirt with a sweatshirt over it. Can the first killing frost be far behind? Come on, little tomatoes: Ripen, ripen, ripen! There’s no time to waste!

Never before have I felt this way about tomatoes. You’ll never catch me making a special trip to the farmers’ market for vine-ripened perfection. Until this summer, in my world tomatoes figured primarily as an ingredient of spaghetti sauce and salsa, both of which I buy in jars. Then late this past spring my neighbor said she wasn’t going to be using one of her flowerbeds. Why didn’t I plant something in it?

Why not? Because I’m not a gardener, that’s why. My houseplants are few. Anything that requires tender loving care dies within a month or two. If I planted anything outside, it probably wouldn’t grow, and if it did, bugs, slugs, deer, or some unpronounceable disease would certainly kill it.

Still, I was tempted by the offer: a garden of my own. Why not give it a try? The bed was in a long-beached dinghy, nine feet at most from stem to stern and maybe four feet across. I could manage that.

I cleared and weeded, scrounged two buckets of high-quality horse manure and mixed it into the soil. Then, since it was already June, I bought seedlings: basil, parsley, and a cherry tomato variety called Black Cherry. To my astonishment and delight, they flourished. I made pesto with my own basil and parsley. Of course it tasted better than the store-bought kind, and it cost a lot less.

My six baby tomato plants outgrew two-foot stakes, then three-foot stakes, and finally even the five-foot monsters I bought at SBS. Yellow flowers appeared, then little green tomatoes. Lots of little green tomatoes, which grew and grew and started ripening into the beautiful dusky cherry hue promised by their name. By the end of August I’d consumed more cherry tomatoes than I had in the previous decade. And they kept coming.

I packed a few whenever I went visiting. I took some to my writers’ group. I made regular deliveries to my neighbors; since they had loaned me the garden plot that was producing this extravagant crop, they surely deserved a share of the harvest. To get rid of my ever-increasing surplus, I considered bundling them into little baskets and leaving them on strangers’ doorsteps. But it’s been a bumper year for Vineyard tomatoes. What if the poor foundlings wound up in some stranger’s compost?

What else could I do with my riches? My culinary abilities are only slightly more advanced than my horticultural ones. Neither my mother nor my grandmothers were cooks, and though I manage to feed myself pretty well, creative I am not. I’d heard people raving about sun-dried tomatoes. By then, however, Hurricane Earl was on the way, however, and the sun hadn’t been seen for days. Perhaps my oven would do.

I drizzled a little olive oil into a small cast-iron skillet, sliced half a dozen cherry tomatoes in half, arranged them face-up in the skillet, and left it in a 250-degree oven for almost three hours. The results were so delicious that I ate them all before the night was over, sans garnish of any kind.

No sooner had I become accustomed to snacking on tomatoes and creatively incorporating them into salads and omelets than the shortening days curbed the production of my little garden. My little tomatoes stay stubbornly green for days and are excruciatingly slow to turn color. Now it’s a happy morning when I can pick three or four.

Grow, green tomatoes. Ripen, ripen! The killing frost won’t hold off forever.

Gazette contributor Susanna J. Sturgis is the author of The Mud of the Place, a novel of Martha’s Vineyard. She lives in West Tisbury.