Tomato Time


Big, fat, heavy, juicy, tasty Big Boys!

Gardening season is on the wane.  Days are growing shorter and the slant of light isn’t as favorable to my little plot of land as it was in Spring and throughout most of the summer.  In closing down this season, I’m pleased to report that for me, this has been a most successful gardening season, particularly with the tomatoes.

I grew the bulk of my tomato crop in 5 huge plastic pots that were filled with fresh potting soil, old potting soil and much compost from last year’s gatherings of egg shells, kitchen scraps and toilet paper & Paper towel rolls and one tiny seedling per huge pot.

A few seedlings from last years seeds sprouted out of the compost I used in the big pots and not having the heart to kill them, I planted those in the ground.  All in all, I had 6 plants in the ground and 5 in pots.  The tomato vines that were planted in the pots grew strong and tall and started producing flowers and green tomatoes late in May.  By early July, the plants were so tall and the tomatoes so big and heavy they were bending the cages I’d put around them and sprawling on the ground.  The seedlings from last year grew strong and tall and overshadowed everything that was close to them.

I enjoyed many sunny mornings smelling the fresh smell of the deep green leaves as I watered them.  I’ve enjoyed watching the plants grow from tiny seedlings to healthy vines covered with tiny yellow flowers and tomatoes in every size and stage of their growth.

I’ve had an abundance of tomatoes since late July.  Instead of merely having some for me, some to share and none to put away for the winter, I’ve had plenty!  Plenty – an abundance! —  for me, plenty to share and 18 quarts of frozen tomatoes in my freezer!


Sometime late this past Winter/early Spring, my mother expressed an interest in growing tomatoes on her patio in the up-coming growing season.   I gave her 3 tomato plants for Mother’s Day and volunteered to be her Gardener.

My mother is a Gardener from a long way back and has always maintained a garden for as long as I’ve known her.   When all 5 of her kids were small, she had a huge garden a short distance from the house in an intensely sunny spot in the center of a large, open field.  There were rows and rows of everything – tomatoes, squash, beans, cabbage, Swiss chard, cucumbers and up to 7 or 8 long rows of corn.  There were also hours and hours of planting, weeding, harvesting, preparing veggies for canning & freezing & so much more.  In a corner of the garden was a huge composting area.  The value of Gardening & the benefits to body, mind and soul was instilled in me from a very early age.  When her children started leaving home, mom’s gardens gradually became smaller.

As mom got older, she had her garden moved to the end of the back lawn.  It was a small garden but enough for her needs, now that my father was gone.  It was also closer to the house.  As she became even older, that small garden got to be too much.  She stopped gardening a few years ago and that garden reverted back to field.  So, when she expressed an interest in growing tomatoes on her patio, I was pleased that she wanted to try and glad to help.  We also grew lettuce and kale – not in huge quantities but enough so before lunch she could say to me “Run out to the garden and pick us some lettuce.”   Or, in a phone conversation, “I went out to the garden and picked some kale for my supper last night.”  These words thrilled me, this is ‘old’ mom, not mom who’s now old.

Mom’s tomatoes didn’t do as well as mine because her patio doesn’t get as good sun as my tiny corner of garden off the back porch of my house.  But, hers did thrive and they did produce and they are enough and I’ve had plenty of my own to spare and share.  We’ve shared quite a few of her tomatoes these past 6 weeks, in tomato and mayo sandwiches, of which neither of us ever tire & will miss sorely when the growing season is past.  The growing, harvesting and consuming these tomatoes has been a focal point for us, something we share in common, something that,  from the tending and the nurturing & consuming, has undeniably brought us closer together & has given us a sense of comfort and even joy.  Something that shows we’ve always been close together, just never realized it….

We’ve spent quite a few hours on her patio this past summer tending the tomatoes and getting lost in conversation about past gardens, past events and people who are gone.  We discussed current events in the family, our community, the world….

Yesterday, in the sunlight and early afternoon almost autumnal shadows,  we discussed how we’d garden differently on her patio next growing season.

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6 Responses to Tomato Time

  1. beetleypete says:

    Sounds like a nice bit of quality time with your Mum, and some heartwarming recollections too.
    You really are the tomato queen Gretchen. I should fly you over to tend our garden, if the moles leave us anything to tend!
    Best wishes from England as always, Pete.

    • I truly surpassed my goal in tomato growing this summer, much to my surprise and pleasure. 2 people have asked me to tend their tomatoes next summer but none so far away as you. I think the secret is the compost I used. I have no idea what to do about moles except maybe get a cat.

      I’ve enjoyed the time with my mom. She loves tomatoes and tomato & mayo sandwiches as much as I.

      Best wishes from New England to England! GG

  2. candidkay says:

    Nothing has ever tasted quite as good as tomatoes from my Dad’s garden. Plain, with a little bit of salt, right off the vine. Yum.

    • A few weeks ago I didn’t know what to have for breakfast. I decided to have a tomato so stepped out my back door with salt shaker in hand, picked a big fat tomato and sat on the porch stairs in the sun, eating my breakfast. All I could think at that moment is Life is Good.

  3. Tomato slice grilled cheese sammich

  4. Egg salad taco filled with fresh tomato!

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