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.


  1. You might also be able to foster some plants for a while until you get settled. When we last moved, a friend let me pot up my perennials as they broke ground and put them in her yard for .... well, months until i could dig a place to put them. It makes moving harder, but was worth it to me.

    At least yours are already in pots. Good luck.

  2. I know how that hurts Marie ... been there myself. If I didn't live on the other end of the country ... I'd be happy to care for them until you find your next patio/garden. I've friends that live in town that 'rent' space in gardens outside the city limits. That option probably doesn't make sense in NYC, but maybe someone with a tiny yard nearby? Forgive my small town nativity. I'll keep both of my green thumbs crossed for you all.

  3. Maybe your landlord reads your blog and knows he can jack up the rent, because you are so attached to your 66 Square Feet.

    It would be nice if you could find a place that the gardening could be an incentive to a new landlord, to keep the price reasonable in exchange for beautiful garden/patio adornments.

  4. Such a dilemma this talk of leaving is for your readers. We want what's best for you, Vince, and Estorbo (but such hubris to think anyone could know what that would be?) but we want to go on reading about the terrace, the roof, what seedlings have started up however ill-advisedly in the gravel ( you could write about that from probably anywhere) But SSSF has never been for me a gardening blog, though I love the garden stuff. The Brooklyn notes delight me - the sense of Brooklyn as the creative nexus comes through, and gives me a feeling that I know it too. Although what I actually know is a much older Manhatten - a place that thrilled as much as it saddened - a place we left too early, I've had much time to see. There are possibilities in such a place in such a time as this that really do not arise again. The singularity for me of your's, Vince's, and Estobo's blog (s) is that it draws from so many rich elements- there's the riveting sense that we are watching some incredible writing talents bloom in a city and a time like no other. The things that could happen for you all may be dependent on that little terrace somehow. For your happiness I wish all the good spacious house and country dreams your other commenters have conjured up. But for you as a writer... I think you have something unique to mine here. In the city, perhaps still in the ridiculously overpriced place you are in. There is something so special about the place itself- perhaps because of its cramped, leaky difficulties.. Move in haste, perhaps regret at leisure. You two seem to know how to make good decisions together. As a long-time reader it will be interesting to see what you decide to do. Thanks for the wonderfulness of it all so far. T

  5. As well as you write I think you could intrigue us with any place you move. I've loved seeing both NYC and South Africa through your voice and would only look forward to hearing more about somewhere else....and, of course, your garden.

    A garden is never so good as it will be next year.”

    - Thomas Cooper

  6. I want to drive to 66 Square Feet (only 10 hours) and babysit your plants for you in southern Ontario. I think your landlord raised your rent in anticipation of your best seller coming out soon. Will you stay in NY? I feel for you...I detest change when it isn't my idea.

  7. Indeed, I find myself stunned to realize only now that I am in the same boat. The plan was to move by the end of this summer, but things changed and I think we will be packing up next spring. All my papers of next summer's plans are garbage. And what to do with the perennials that I have? Will they have a sunny balcony?! I can only hope. I bid you good luck dear friend!

  8. Aye, I just learned that my Mother has decided to sell her house, where I live. She is 90 and she can not keep up the interior, and I, with two jobs and a 2 hour commute one way, can never catch up outside. (Let alone inside!) I have one possible catch, my brother has lots of stuff stored at her house, and she can't sell until he gets rid of it. So maybe sometime next year.
    Since I do a big commute, I really can't see Vince wanting more than he has already. Although I will say that when I was in mortgage lending, we use to have a lot of NY'ers moving to the Pocs and commuting daily. And with that rent increase, you could buy a car and still be cheaper.
    Although I am not a NJ fan, I will say that many of the municipalities have a rent increase limit. Better than NY with rent limits only in rent stabilized apartments. Good Luck

    1. Moving - not easy. That commute is killer, Amy. Vince current has a 20 - 25 minute commute each way, including walking to the subway, and we don't want to swallow our lives up with long travel time. It's huge in terms of quality of life, as you know so well.

      Thank you, and lots of luck to you, too.


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