31 August 2006

Thinking Tomato Thoughts

It seems that summer in my area of the world was about ten minutes long this year. The tomatoes are just now ripening. It's the end of freaking August, and the vast majority of them are still deepest, not-even-fryable green. These are what June fruits should look like, not nearly September. We're members of a CSA, and every newsletter for weeks has been about how lousy the tomatoes are this year. I do not trust the weather. Everyone's full of their normal conversation about our typical Indian Summer, but honestly, our seasons haven't been normal for a while, so why does everyone expect normal still? We had 40 straight days of rain, followed by an unstable spring, followed by a week of 100-degree+ days, followed immediately by fall. What's normal in that? So I'm preparing the garden for the worst, prepping the beds for their plantings of winter veggies like cauliflowers, cabbages, and leeks, and assuming that the tomatoes will mostly be a loss this year. I'm really sad about the tomatoes. We did them all-volunteer this year. We took all the little volunteers from last year's Tomato Jungle, selected 14 likely ones, and planted them in the bed, all formal with cages and stakes and regular watering and whatnot. I was really stoked that we seem to have some serious genetic diversity happening, and that some of the heirloom tomatoes we'd eaten and then tossed the remainders into the compost seemed to be some of the hardiest volunteers. It makes me unaccountably happy, that the few upstart heirlooms are the strongest. The idea that untampered-with prevails? That's just really cool. And it's one thing to argue about it, but wholly another to see it played out in the drama of the back garden beds. The fight for nutrients, for water, for sunshine, for bed space, is fierce, and it cheers me unbelievably to think of these odd little scrappers making it to the top. I just hope that everyone else is right and I am wrong and we get to enjoy some of them. Think tomato thoughts for us.


At 9/01/2006 04:14:00 PM, Blogger SFWriter13 said...

There's a symbolism there that I truly love . . . and sending tomtato thoughts your way. :-D

At 9/01/2006 08:44:00 PM, Anonymous Mom2 said...

come visit, we have tomatoes, boy do we have tomatoes. We are giving away some everyday and still can't keep up with the ripeing ones.

At 9/04/2006 10:14:00 PM, Anonymous Dana said...

Yum, tomotoes are my favorite food. I've eaten at least one tomatoe every day of my life, with a few exceptions.

I've not noticed any difference in the store tomatoes, but one reason I want to rent a house is so I can grown my own.

As to weather, I'm puzzled by talk about "normal" weather. Sure we have kind of a loose pattern of weather in given parts of the world, but if you look at stats for weather each year, and really think about one winter or summer to the next, they're never the same. And if you look at weather over geological time, weather is in constant flux.

Yeah, last year we had lots of rain. I loved it. This winter we may find drought, or it may rain just like last year. I don't remember any constant weather. Weather is change, aye? The earth evolves just as the life on it, and that affects yearly changes in weather "patterns."

But I totally sympathize with your tomato frustration. Hope you end up with lots of them! Dana

At 9/14/2006 08:08:00 AM, Anonymous Laura said...

No kidding. I planted three varieties of heirloom tomatoes this year. My Black Plum tomatoes are finally producing, the other plants with large tomatoes have just *barely* begun to ripen, and here it is mid-September already.

I did plant late, because it was still weirdly freezing and raining this spring, and I didn't feel like squatting out in the cold rain to turn soil and plant my veggies. I'm definitely a fair-weather gardener.

I barely got any peppers either. Nor cucumbers, nor eggplant, nor squash. Apaprt from two weeks of 100F+ days, the weather has mostly sucked.

One of the reasons I knew I was pregnant in May is that when I was planting, every time I stood up I got all woozy. Now it's time ot think about winter crops, but I think I've got too much belly now to be out there squatting comfortably. So my own internal baby garden is interfering with my veggie garden!

I've started planting more perennials. I got a bumper crop of artichokes this spring. Meyer Lemons will boom this winter, I hope. And I just planted asparagus. Here's hoping for next year!


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