Is there anything else in the world that smells as good as a tomato plant? A friend gave me two plants this morning and I was nearly drunk with pleasure at the aroma. I have not grown any vegetables since we moved to this home; there are so many tall trees around that the only sunshine that reaches the ground comes between 11 am and 2 pm, and that is not really enough sunshine for growing most veggies, I think. I transplanted them into two terracotta pots and now they sit proudly on my back deck. I may have to move them around all day, chasing the sun, but if they produce any tomatoes it will have been worth it!~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
My first vegetable garden was fairly large for a beginner: 40 x 40. Some of you will be laughing at that, but I thought it was a big plot. We carved it out of virgin woodlands, and removing the stumps and roots was very hard work. Then came the rocks; every rain uncovered a new layer of rocks, which had to be carted away. Luckily, there were no rocks too big to lift. Finally we planted; Big Boy tomatoes, summer squash, cukes, zucchini, eggplant, half-runner beans, leaf lettuce, spring onions and potatoes. I cannot begin to stress how much produce we harvested that first year. We couldn't give it away fast enough, and my family could only eat so much! I tried my hand at canning green beans, but gave up after that first summer. It's a good thing I wasn't born into farm life, I would never have made it. I counted tomatoes that year; we had 447 tomatoes from 14 plants. The next year, we planted about half as much as the first year, and we had a gracious plenty to eat and still had some to share with friends and neighbors.
My favorite tomatoes grew in Ohio, at the family home of a friend. They took me with them for a family reunion, and I learned that they grew tomatoes for ketchup production. I don't remember what varieties they were. One morning we went into the fields armed with a salt shaker and a knife. There were irrigation faucets in the fields, so we chose a tomato, washed it off, sliced it open, salted it - and bit down into the red, juicy lushness that is a freshly picked tomato. By the time we finished, we had eaten enough to last through two meals and our mouths were sore from the acid and the salt. They were truly the best tomatoes I have ever eaten.
Come to think of it, I do have a little more of a garden than I've led you to believe. I have rosemary and in a small flower bed in the front yard, I have a parsley plant about 3 feet tall that is about to bloom. It looks sort of odd in that bed, as it is the tallest thing in it and it's not centered within the plot, but I don't have the heart to move it or prune it until after it blooms. I always forget it's there, so I have not used any of the parsley yet. How dumb it that? Will you remind me next week to use some parsley?