I don’t even really like tomatoes, so I don’t know what possessed me to plant twelve of them in a 4X4 white planter box I had bought at the New England charity auction last fall for $25 – a real bargain, but you had to be there early to push and grab, worst than a garage sale but worth it for 75% off. Somehow I had the idea in my head that I would have a garden like my parents did years ago on the farm. The farm garden was always planted in the cornfield closest to the house for easy access, spread out among the rows of corn. Sometimes we would help my dad plant it, he dug the holes, and we put the seeds in and covered them up with dirt, but other than that I don’t remember it being any work, it just grew. It had the usual garden staples, tomatoes, cucumbers, yellow beans, sweet corn, squash and pumpkins. The beans and tomatoes were canned, and my mom made dill pickles with the cucumbers. Many a hot August day (there was no air conditioning back then), I would wake up and go downstairs to find rows of inverted mason jars covered with tea towels on the kitchen countertop, as my mom would have been up early to can in the cool of the morning. They would later be moved to the pantry shelves in the basement. I don’t remember ever eating the canned goods, but once in a while my parents would have a jar of stewed tomatoes with a fried steak and onions. I can eat a tomato on a BLT but I was never one of those people who rhapsodized ecstatically about a tomato sandwich on white bread with thick slices of beefsteak tomatoes sprinkled generously with salt and better. I ate catsup, and when I was older branched out into pizza sauce and PC spaghetti sauce, the one without the garlic. I had bought 3 different types, cherry, Roma and beefsteak, and planted them in half of the planter box as the other half was taken up with two strawberry plants (which did well and provided berries for salads all summer), and lettuce, romaine and leaf , (which also did well). How lovely to be able to go outside and just pick just what you needed for a salad, instead of buying at the grocery store and throwing half of it out a week later. I also stuck a
a squash plant in there for Thanksgiving. I guess I had figured on some of the tomato plants dying, like things usually do in my yard, but we had a lot of rain and in a few weeks I had a tomato jungle. Luckily my neighbour took pity on me one day and thinned the tops (which is supposed to concentrate the plant energy in the fruit), and staked them for me, to let the sun in. A few weeks after that, I had a bumper crop. But then what to do with all those tomatoes? There are two types of people – those that love tomatoes and usually grow their own – and the rest. Luckily I managed to find a few neighbours to share some of the bounty with. Still there is something memorable about the smell of a fresh picked tomato, so maybe next year, I’ll try making spaghetti sauce – send tried and true recipes if able, light on the spices please.
Song of the Day: Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off – Ella Fitzgerald click here for music link
Song on Home Page: Scenes from an Italian Restaurant – Billy Joel click here for music link
Poor Brenda and Edie – they should have read the Book of the Day – Secrets of A Happy Marriage – see Goodreads review home page…
Quotes of the Day: “A bottle of red, a bottle of white, it all depends upon your appetite. I’ll meet you any time you want, at our Italian restaurant.”
“You like potato and I like potahto, you like tomato and I like tomahto. Potato, potahto, tomato, tomahto, let’s call the whole thing off….”