Patchwork Gardening

Early on when the fruit was tiny and gorgeously green.

People are doing all sorts of industrious and ambitious things these days waiting for this viral threat to subside. Or they’re binge watching Netflix in a stupor. I don’t judge. There is nothing special or unique about growing a garden while you’re stuck at home with time on your hands. ME doing it is a bit special though.

I’m not proud of the fact that plants in my care often die from neglect. It’s nothing personal, I don’t kill them on purpose. Pulling weeds and watering things is very low on my list of priorities. Might not be there at all if I’m honest. In a perfect world vegetable gardens would spring up on their own and take care of themselves until harvest time. Like rhubarb. I have never killed rhubarb.

We had our garden plot done over with grass years ago when it started producing giant thistles. This spring our son used his rototiller behind our garage, on the flowerbed under our front window where dogwood grew wild (another plant that grows totally on its own) and widened the flowerbed along the back of the house. The other narrow raised bricked-in north facing flowerbed at the front gets little sunshine and even less rain because of the roof overhang. It’s also an awkward distance from the garden hose which is a pain in the ass with things close to it as well, as far as I’m concerned. No green thumbs on me baby. We’ve discovered it’s a perfect place for yellow beans and have harvested enough of them now to put some in the freezer! Tiger lilies thrive there too. Weird combination, but these are weird times.

There is one exception in my generally garden loathing bones. I can grow tomatoes. I asked W in the spring to pick up three small tomato plants for me, preferably a variety of different kinds, and he came home with a flat of six healthy little Romas. He had already planted yellow beans, radishes, onions, zucchini, cucumbers and lettuce here, there and everywhere, leaving a lovely little space for me big enough for 2 tomato plants. It’s like he didn’t want me to succeed or something. No problem, I like to have excuses. I put three plants there, (and he promptly planted carrots in front of them), two in front of our little volunteer pine tree, and one in a pot. Then I had to put the pine tree plants in pots as well after reading that tomatoes and pine trees fight for the same nutrients. Every plant got tomato spike fertilizer and tomato cages and lots of sunshine. And away they went.

The plants grew tall, probably because they’re crowded together, and are loaded with little tomatoes to the point where W is sure the branches will break with their weight. He likes to pick things before they’re ripe and lies awake at night dreaming up reasons to do that. I made that last bit up. I really have no idea why it drives him nuts to let a tomato fully ripen on the vine.

This is what we picked yesterday. There are also a bunch doing their final ripening in a cupboard drawer. W has distributed tomatoes in the neighborhood and I’ve put some in the freezer. We are expecting our daughter to come over for more, and our son wants a bunch for soup and sauces I think. I’ve consumed a LOT of the grape sized ones in various ways, including snacks just as they are because they’re delicious, so I’m doing my part, and we have tomatoes with every meal. And it’s time to pick them again. Still lots of green ones. If we’re lucky they could keep coming through September. Always have to watch for frost here though because our growing season is shorter than more southerly spots.

Now I’m wondering if southerly is a real word. But I promised not to go off on tangents so look it up yourself while I slowly die an acidic death from fresh tomato overdose. I’m not looking that up either but it sounds like an interesting way to go.