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You Say Tomato, I Say "Not Enough"
By Gloria Diaz
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Fort Wayne Reader
As usual, I planted a garden this year. Last year's output was dismal. So this year, I decided I'd try container gardening. I started a few plants from seeds, and bought the rest.
Despite what seems like a near perfect summer in terms of heat and precipitation, my plants in my raised bed died, and my Lemon Boy tomato plant is dying. The other plants seem to be doing okay, but I don't have nearly as many tomatoes as I'd like.
The tomatoes are rather small, too. I usually get Early Girls, and while I had tomatoes in July, they weren't at all like I expected. With me, too much is never enough. I usually try and grow enough tomatoes to donate to the food bank, because fresh produce is absolutely needed in one's diet, no matter what the government or Madison Avenue says.
Last year, maybe the garden was just tired. Twenty-plus years of growing a garden and really not adding any fertilizer to it, or basically giving it a rest, probably took its toll. So this year, I let the weeds run riot. I got a great deal on some containers (they have handles on them, how great is that) and planted. I love home-grown tomatoes, because the store-bought ones don't taste right. Every so often in the winter, I break down and buy tomatoes, and bacon, and bread for BLTs. I bite into the waxy, bland tomatoes and wonder each year why I do this to myself.
So I look forward to summer, and tons (well, okay, pounds) of tomatoes I couldn't possibly eat all by myself. So I donate, along with my concord grapes. But this year, the tomatoes are scarce.
I don't get it. We haven't had drought. It's been more humid than usual, and it seems like every few days, we get enough rain. Not some two-minute downpour, but a good soaking rain. My lawn is nice and green. So is everything else (except for that one tomato plant which is turning purple for some odd reason).
Seeing this makes me glad once again that I'm not a farmer. Sometimes I think it would be great to just live off the land, sell what I produce, but I know better. I eat meat, but I don't think I could kill an animal to eat it. I like veggies, but there's not enough of them in the garden. I suppose I could buy at farmer's markets, but like last year, I'm disappointed in my lack of gardening skills. Or maybe it's the tired soil, or perhaps this year's brand-new topsoil that probably doesn't have any nutrients in it.
Even the radishes were underachievers. The couple that I picked had tiny bulbs about the size of marbles. The green onions seem stunted. And I'm … ticked off, because now, my mouth is watering for a tomato. I had three small ones for breakfast, and I could have easily eaten a half dozen. So I guess I'll go buy what I couldn't really grow this year.
I will say though, my peppermint came roaring back this year, and so did the catnip. So my back porch is nice and minty, and I have more than enough catnip to get both Summit and my friend's cats stoned for months. Lucky them.