Monday, June 16, 2008

First tomatoes

Yesterday I "harvested" the first two tomatoes off my home-grown plants. One from each. I brought the tomatoes in, handed one to my husband with pride, and we each popped one in our mouth. The entire tomato in one bite. Oh, they were so good!

Grape tomatoes in case you're wondering!

I worked hard for those little buggers. (Bad choice of words! No bugs in those two 'maters).

I cleaned out a garden that luckily has some natural and man-made protection from our many deer. One side is shaded to a small degree by bushes, the other is sided by our driveway. We live in the middle of Fayette County in an area where wildlife abounds. I love seeing the deer in the yard, the rabbits hopping along the edges of the woods and the chipmunks playing in the woods. But I don't want them plundering my garden.

I've long neglected the plot, letting the older flowers the previous owner planted go native. I finally had to dig it all up last year when some tenacious weed took hold. Nothing short of digging up all the dirt would get rid of it. I had even, finally, as a last resort tried Round-Up (the super-duper kind when the regular didn't work) and then put down a few layers of Preem afterwards. The shiny, quick multiplying bushy weeds came back!

After realizing first, I don't like pesticides and didn't want them in my home-grown produce, and two, I wasn't going to be able to nuke the stupid weeks out of existence, I took off the top 6 inches or so of soil, put new soil down along with fertilizer and soil treatment. I then planted two grape tomato plants, a Better Boy tomato, an assortment of herbs and the obligatory marigolds.

Guess what? The weeds are trying to come back. However, now as they come back up, I'm pulling them. I will win this battle!!!

I've faithfully watered the tomatoes and plucked the nasty horned caterpillars. I staked the plants, and then re-staked when I realized I'd thought a bit too small when choosing the type stakes to use.

Many years ago I grew large gardens. I'd clear out a plot big enough for lettuce, cucumbers, corn, watermelons and other favorites. Over the years I've moved from the garden to the grocery store for my produce. I have missed the taste of a real tomato grown on the vine until completely ripe.

Now, finally, I'm at a place and time when I can at least grow my own tasty tomatoes. It is so satisfying to grow something and to enjoy the fruits of my labor. Hmmm.... fruit. I haven't thought about trying my hand at growing fruit. Maybe next year.

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