Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Our very first tomato

When we moved back to Nashville, I made a vow. I vowed that I would grow my own tomatoes. All those years we lived in the desert, I bemoaned the lack of grass and wished for a yard. But I also missed things like tomatoes--things that you just couldn't grow in a part of the world that stayed above 100 degrees for almost half the year. Tomatoes. The really good fresh kind that my parents grew in our backyard when I was a very little girl. The kind that your kind friends give to you because they know you love them and they have a surplus. The kind that you could just bite into like an apple, letting the juice run down your arm.

So naturally, when it came time to start planting seeds, I was hellbent on growing my own tomatoes this year. No matter what it took. I was going to grow some tomatoes, by God!

But of course, I am notorious in our family for having a black thumb. I tend to unintentionally kill plants that are supposedly hard to kill. I neglected a cactus to death, and I didn't even know that could be done. I killed mint in my yard about ten years ago. I wonder if I give out some terrible deadly electric energy, like the character Rogue in the X-men movies. (I cannot believe I just referred to a comic book character on my own blog on my own free will. But I digress.) I even fretted about having a baby because hello, my track record is not so great.

Luckily, I have managed to keep William alive for two years and counting. He is healthy. He has not starved or frozen to death. That gave me some new confidence. It lasted until I managed to kill two different batches of tomato plants lovingly raised and given to me by the gardening teacher at our church, Miss Ginny. Along the way, I also killed a basil plant. Things were not off to a good start, to put it mildly. I planted the seedlings too early, and the cold got them. They wilted almost before my eyes. I told myself that the third time would be the charm. William and I straightened our shoulders and headed off to Home Depot to buy some sturdy plants and some fertilizer.

And lo, here they are, about two months later:

All the things that I have successfully grown, together in one place!

And so it is fitting that the first thing....er, person...that I successfully grew...so far...got the chance to pick the very first tomato. And here he is, triumphantly bearing it aloft:

Look at the tomato! It's all real! Okay, yes, it had a big blemish on one side, but it's been there since it first started to grow. And once we cut it away, we could eat the rest. And oh my, was it good. Oh my.

I only used the transplant fertilizer when I physically transplanted the plants from their containers to the ground. So except for that, they're more or less organic. Definitely pesticide-free. (Ask me sometime about how I had to unearth a bunch of deliberately buried rocks and bricks (!) out of my little corner garden before I could plant my little fledgling tomato plants. That's a fun story.)

Really, I'm so proud. Doesn't this look like such propaganda for organic gardening?

Well, the tomatoes are organic. Not-so-natural Goldfish crackers and graham crackers comprise a good part of the little boy.


natalie said...

Congratulations on your very first tomato!!! Nothing tastes better. Nothing.

But seriously, you killed MINT?!?! You have some *serious* talent!

Jennifer Larson said...

It really was exciting. I know I must sound like a big dork, but I seriously adore tomatoes. And there is just nothing like a homegrown tomato, right out of your own back yard. And I didn't know that I could really do it, either, so it feels like I passed some sort of weird cosmic test. Next year, I plan to test the universe to see if zucchini really grows as out of control as everyone claims it does!

Shab said...

You're inspiring me to try tomatoes too! We haven't tried anything but flowers (and even that was at our previous house!)

Yago LOVES tomatoes and I think it's a great idea!!

Jennifer Larson said...

If I can grow tomatoes, ANYONE can grow tomatoes! Shab, y'all should try it next year, absolutely.

Anonymous said...

Hooray Jennifer!
I'm just now getting a few blossoms on my tomatoes, so I was too cautious about the weather and am way behind you in tomato production.

Save some for us!

With love,