Sep 21, 2012

My Tomato Story

Growing up with my parents, you'd think I would have a big background in gardens.  I don't remember very much from those vegetable gardens, other than pulling weeds, snapping beans, shucking corn, and all the other chores that kids are required to do. 
In high school, it wasn't trendy or cool to have a big garden, or at least I didn't think so.
I moved out and went to college and lived in dorms and apartments that had no dirt to plant in.
Then when a roommate planted tomatoes outside of our apartment in Missoula I kind of thought it was fun to go out and pick cherry tomatoes off the plants.  And she told me a few hints from when she grew up tending in the dirt, pruning the crotches, tying the vines.
After that little plot was just a memory, I moved to Arizona where a neighbor gave me a bunch of extra plants he had started.  I basically had to dig a hole, stick in the plant and then water them every other day.  Arizona is MADE for tomatoes and peppers!  I remember calling my dad and asking about putting sawdust on the plants, or what wimpy, curled leaves meant.  Those tomatoes were incredible and I had too many!  So I dried most of them and ate some, and let some drop and do whatever rotting tomatoes do.
In the next big move, I had a little house to myself in South Dakota, with a weedy yard, but room for some plants.  A friend gave me her leftover starts, and once again I plopped them in the soil with no major planning or thoughts.  Later that summer Shawn and I would come to joke about the "tomato hedge" I had grown.  He took fresh tomatoes to his grandmother in the nursing home, and once again I shared a bunch with co-workers and froze some.
Early Girl and Celebrities this year, next year I will plant more varieties
Then came my move back to Montana, where getting a tomato to grow was a miracle.  God basically had to reach down and shelter those plants in order for me to get any sort of tomato crop.  Shawn built me a hobby greenhouse and I utilized every sort of season-extending method there was.  I was defeated.
Now we once again live where tomatoes can be grown outside without a whole lot of thought.  Hooray!  And here I am, back to drying, freezing, and canning tomatoes.  I'm glad I finally discovered why gardeners get so excited for tomatoes, there is something about them that cannot be found in any other vegetable.

too bad not everyone loves tomatoes

1 comment:

  1. Jackie- I thoroughly enjoyed your tomato story...almost as much as I enjoy garden fresh tomatoes. I agree with you about the value of a home grown tomato. Although I love so many other vegetables we grow, tomato has to be my favorite. You can find a decent carrot in a store, or an acceptable sweet pepper, baby spinach, etc. BUT a store-bought tomato will never, ever, ever come close to what is grown in a garden!