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April 2, 2008 > Pat Kite's Garden: Tomatoes?

Pat Kite's Garden: Tomatoes?

This week, in my annual defective burst of enthusiasm, I bought a tomato plant. Lest anyone think I cannot grow tomatoes, humph! Last year I had three happy plants and actually gleaned five delicious tomatoes. The rest of my superb tomatoes came from Jennifer and Andy. They had lots and lots of tomatoes. Tomatoes on a bush, tomatoes on a vine and tomatoes on the ground, they had so many tomatoes, they couldn't utilize them all. At the sight of my "I love fresh tomatoes" face, pretty please, I got donations. Thank you again, and may you get extras this year too, just in case.

Tomatoes are among the easiest veggies to grow. What you need is ample sun, water, and reasonably decent soil. What I don't have, endless lament is enough sun. So I get a plethora of healthy leaves which, after I chatter a bit and tell tomato tales, somehow come up with a few scrumptious red, crispy skin, juicy interior, dribble down your chin, tomatoes. Eat a fresh sun-warm tomato in your garden with birds overhead in the blue sky, and purchased tomatoes will never again taste quite right, ever.

Tomatoes were once called "love apples," or pomme d'amour. Eat a tomato, and one's enthusiasm for hanky-panky was greatly elevated. Why? According to 16th century herbalists and physicians, there was an anatomical resemblance between the human heart and the shape of a tomato. Check it out.

This South American weedy native traveled via wandering persons to Italy where they sensibly entered cooking pots. However, in long ago England, tomatoes were Yuk. The early American colonists were not to be outdone. Tomatoes were condemned as part of a scandalous life, on par with dancing, card playing, and theater-going. Eat one? A "sinful feast."

It wasn't until 1840 that tomatoes were offered commercially in garden catalogues. There were two kinds: "small and large." Today there are oodles. There are itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny, polka-dot size tomatoes such as Gartenperle, Sun Gold Hybrid, Tiny Tim, and Sugar Snack. Before I covered my bright kitchen windowsill with carnivorous plant Nepenthes, I grew miniature tomatoes indoors in a pot. Try it. There are yellow tomatoes as Yellow Magic, Yellow Canary and Yellow Pear. And of course, there are one pound tomatoes as Big Rainbow and Giant Pink Belgium. There's also an Oklahoma person who grew a seven pound 12 ounce tomato. In case you are into contests, Google "tomato contests 2008." Organic Gardening has its annual contest going now.

Tomato plants are heavy feeders, so don't forget fertilizer. You can use organic fishy mix or stuff from a box with tomatoes specifically mentioned. Don't forget to water regularly and keep tomatoes off the ground if you can. Right now, I am going out to chat with my newly planted yellow Granny Smith. Hope is a thing with tomatoes; that perches in the soul.

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