Monday, June 13, 2005

Is There Anything that Smells as Good as......

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?


Arethusa said...

Mmmmmm, I definitely agree with you on the aroma of tomato plants. For so long I use to think those veggies were particularly icky, but now the scent gives me highs and I could eat them whole (and raw)!

Oh and if I remember I will most certainly remind you, parsley is one of those herbs I can find a use for in just about any dish.

Oh yes and hello Kenju, Michele sent me.

Sandy said...

Hi Kenju....I thought you were Japanese!
I'm dying of jealousy here, I have always wanted a garden and I just love veggies.
oh, sorry about the music thing from Michele's! I spoke too fast : )

Angie said...

Just last week as I was tying up the flopping long arms of tomato plants, my daughter says, "Don't you just hate the stink of these things?" I looked at her like she had just lost her mind. Oh, Judy, I do love the smell of tomato plants. Nothing smells more like summer than a tomato plant. I have 24 plants in one patch and others scattered around because I don't want them to cross pollenate if I can help it. They are all hip high now and loaded with green tomatoes. I am anxious for them to turn red. When my oldest was little she would pick the big ripe tomatoes, warm in the afternoon sun and take a bite out of them like apples. I think we all did. How funny that we both have taken salt to a tomato patch and eaten our fill right then and there.

Melissa said...

Our tomatoes are doing well. I love the smell of those things! My husband and I don't eat tomatoes, we just like to watch them grow, so people love it when we give them away!

OldHorsetailSnake said...

Oh yes, parsley looks good on the plate. Then helps clean the sink grinder when you throw it away. (What you could do, to save time, is just clip it and throw it in the garbage.)

Hope said...

My husband tries so hard to grow tomatoes. There is nothing like homegrown to him. Unfortunately, our dog loves to eat the the ripe ones. Even he has to laugh when he catches the dog sniffing out the red ones. I wish the dog learned to eat the swiss chard, because it does not taste like spinach!

Jamie Dawn said...

You cannot beat a ripe, juicy tomato. Just hand me a salt shaker, and that's lunch!

vicki said...

After it blooms it's only fit for guinea pigs and rabbits; it gets bitter. whack it back- go ahead, be ruthless! It'll go again. Growing tomatoes is more fun than just about anything. Last summer the cat took a nap in the tomato bed (also land of the catnip) and came in and I was petting her and she had two fat green tomato worms in her fur. Nasty.