Posted on August 26, 2008 by
I haven’t put up a garden update in a very long time, so I’m going to disguise it as a tip. Or, I’m going to make today’s tip a lesson I learned from my tomatoes. One or the other. All about how you look at it.
Earlier in the season, I planted these wispy little cherry tomato seedlings I grew from seed, worried that they wouldn’t make it. They seemed to fragile. And then they started growing, and growing and growing. And they were as tall as me (I’m 5’6″, for reference).
This is fantastic, I thought. I’ll make salsa and dry some and, oh, the snacking!
Then we had a couple of hard rains, the tomatoes collaped on themselves, and I thought they would die off. But they didn’t. They started growing outward. They grew over the marigold border I planted around the bed. They started growing into the neighboring bed, but I didn’t want to cut them and loose the green tomatoes that would turn red.
They started choking out my blueberry plants. I cut them back on that side only to save the blueberries, and mourned the tiny green tomatoes that would never be food.
But then, the tomatoes started ripening in the middle of the bed, and the massive clump of tomato plants was too big and dense to get to any of the ripe tomatoes. I almost did a face plant trying to reach some of them. A rabbit ran out from under the tomato plant mass right by my leg, scaring the crud out of me, while I was trying to pick them. The ripe tomatoes started rotting on the vine because I couldn’t reach them.
Yesterday, I decided enough was enough, grabbed some scissors and hacked away, limited the tomatoes to the parameters of their bed. So many of the tomatoes I could now reach were slimy and deflated. Of course, I also harvested a mountain of good tomatoes (and there will be many more to come). Gave a bunch to my neighbor. Made gazpacho, and promised some to a friend. And, oh, the snacking!
But I was totally pennywise and pound foolish — I so desperately wanted to keep every little green tomato, and ended up losing a ton of ripe ones in the process. It seems a little silly and trite, but I learned a lesson yesterday while I was sorting through slimy tomatoes. Sometimes, the less wasteful option is to cut your losses early on. And I think it’s true for a lot of things, green and otherwise.
Here’s the an after shot. It’s still a lot of tomato plantage, but I can walk between the beds again, and my blueberry bushes have some space to grow:
And check it out, I hauled away two loads of this to the leaf pile:
I tried to take some of the green tomatoes off the cut vines to sun ripen them, but after awhile, I just lost patience.