Tuesday, July 23, 2013

New appreciation for a tiny tomato


Before the farm, there was one tomato plant: an heirloom Mexican cherry tomato. I planted it on the terrace, in the sunniest corner, and it grew and grew. The next year, there were seedlings, popping out of the gravel of the terrace floor. So I potted them up in old coffee cans.

They appear every year. In truth, the tiny fruit are too small to excite me very much, now that I have tasted the Black Krims and Green Zebras and Striped Germans. But this year they are the only ripe tomato where before the tomato orchard would be about to explode.

Our late spring absence meant no mid summer bounty waiting for us. So the volunteer is welcome, and I eat the cherry tomatoes every time I go up to water.

One of the worst things about our possible move is that I look at the collection of young plants growing and the seeds I have sown in the last couple of weeks and want to cry. The summer squash plants, the pumpkins, the Beefsteaks. I think about the blueberry I have mulched with fresh coffee, and fed, and pruned, for next year, the black raspberry's newly trained canes, the fig's tender green branches. Gardening is as much about the present as it is about the future. There is always something to look forward to. What you do now, pays off later. If you cut off that future, the present and its investment become an existential crisis. What if you cannot reap what you have sown?

But we've discovered that our lease is up only at the end of October - whose crops are beautiful. So there is more time than we had thought.

And that might make all the difference.


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