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.