A PERFECT TOMATO EASES THE PAIN OF A LOUSY SUMMER

It's hard to imagine that there was a time when I had very little interest in growing vegetables. You might not know it by looking at my vegetable garden, which is in a sorry state this year, but I get so much pleasure out of growing my own food.

Last night, I asked Mr. Much More Patient to bring home a piece of fish for dinner, knowing that we had rice or pasta in the pantry and that I could walk out to the veggie garden and find some kind of vegetable. I actually didn't know what might be ready (since there were no zucchinis on that were big enough it ended up being Swiss chard), but I knew I'd find something out there. I love that feeling.

a perfect tomato

But even before I had a real vegetable garden, there were tomatoes. I love tomatoes. Correction, I love homegrown tomatoes (the ones you buy in the store in winter bear absolutely no relation to a real tomato and probably shouldn't even qualify as one). I've been growing them as long as I've been growing anything. In fact, I suspect the first plant I ever stuck in a pot and put out on a miniscule patio at a first apartment was probably a tomato.

Which is why this summer of bad weather feels even less like summer: there were hardly any tomatoes. All of my tomato plants in the veggie garden at home faltered. Some of them appearing to just fade away, others apparently the victims of some kind of blight. I can't tell you how sad I am about it. To me summer isn't summer without homegrown tomatoes.

I've been supplementing my tomato requirements at the local farmers market, but I did have success with the one plant I put in a pot on the patio, which enjoys a super sunny and warm location.

And the other day, I picked what I think is probably the most perfect tomato I've ever grown. It was about the size of a softball and perfectly round, without so much as a scar on it. Shiny and red, it was equally as delicious as it was pretty.

And it made this horrible tomato summer just a little more tolerable.

What were your successes and failure in the vegetable garden this year?

2 comments :

  1. We picked the last of our sad tomatoes earlier this week. Usually, I'm giving away basket after basket, but not this year. The blight hit and the plants were so sad. Even the cherry tomatoes, of which I usually have 1000's, were not that good.
    But my biggest failure was my zucchini! Two 8" squash and that was it! The whole plant never got more than about 2' across, so I finally yanked it late August. Tired of looking at the failure.
    What did well? Beets - a package of seeds thrown in the still cold soil in May and we have enough beets to last us the winter (pickled, of course). And kale - I had never grown it before and love it! Salads and smoothies all summer long. In fact, I'm heading out in a few minutes to pick more to take to a pot luck this afternoon - kale salad with roasted butternut squash, pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries tossed in a honey mustard dressing. Delish!

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  2. Highlights for me were my iris plants (always stunning) and I discovered dill (duh, right?). Low points were powdery mildew on zucchini and misshaped green tomatoes. Also, spots all over their leaves and my first year with some small icky bug on the tomatoes. Each year I ponder the virtue of a wonderful farmers market in town (some town, any town).

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