Heaven awaits…

Plant #12

Everyday is exciting when tomatoes are in my garden. From the moment they enter the soil, until the tragic last day of the season when the final vine is pulled from the ground, life is good. The staking. The tying. Such fun.

I stare at my tomato plants all throughout the day. I worry about them while at work – discussing them incessantly with my co-workers trying to get tips. (Strangely, they seem to share in my obsession…) I lay on the straw mulch beneath them searching for an undiscovered blight or blemish. Sometimes a flashlight is used. On Sundays they are fertilized after  sundown. Suckers removed daily. Weeds obliterated.

The tomatoes are photographed, with each picture dated to chart their progress. The plants are numbered. Number four is presently the weakest and I plan on doing something about that, but can’t figure out what.

I will share their beauty with all who care to look. And everyone should care to look. They are spectacular!

Love me, love my tomatoes.

“Good things come to those who wait.” 

What a Difference a Month (and a little Miracle-Gro) Makes!

Up-Close and Blooming!

Tomatoes at 1-Month

The temperature is hovering around 100 degrees today. My tomato plants are holding  steadfast with their heavy layer of straw mulch, generous watering, and thorough daily dustings.  Miracle-Gro is administered weekly. All suckers removed on sight.

At one month, nine of the twelve plants have marble-sized tomatoes – all ample bloom. So far, no signs of disease or dying.

It will be interesting to hear what the report will be one month from now. Will it be delicious tomato sandwiches, or pulling up the vines?

“Ah, sweet mystery of life…”

Why Today is Good

Newly Planted

Tomatoes, Day 2

It is day two for my tomato garden. After surrendering last year to the urgings of friends and farmers not to plant – that the tomatoes would be attacked by insects, rot, be stolen, shrivel, contract “black bottom” (whatever that is) or “die on the vine”, I said, “What the heck,” and planted them anyway. So what if they get “black bottom”? Nobody is going to die. Hopefully.

As for today, I gaze at my 12 little plants. Better Boy. Big Boy. Bigger, Better Beefy…something. All beautiful. All healthy.

Nothing good comes without struggle. I expect Stinkbugs, and I expect Starlings. Weeds will happen. Drought will occur. And my tomatoes will triumph.

Come August, I’ll be preparing BLT’s.  They will taste a thousand times better while looking at my garden through the kitchen window.

(In the South, every “old-timer,” when speaking of tomatoes, says, “I just sprinkle a little salt on them, and eat ’em just like an apple.”
Most claim to carry a shaker of salt in their pocket during summer months!)

Tomatoes, Bacon, and Spring

The real thing

It’s Spring!

until late July...

Tomorrow is the 1st of March, and while it is not officially the start of Spring – it is a step in the right direction.  I discovered a hatched robin’s egg in my yard last week, the onions in my pantry are sprouting faster than I can use them, and my prized “pet” African Violet is going wild. Something is definitely in the air!

Aside from the bitter temperatures, snow, and ice, the hardest part of  Winter is being deprived of home-grown tomatoes! Even now that it is Spring 🙂 , it’s still a good five months before a decent BLT. What’s a person to do? Well, this is truly one of those problems that  money can’t solve, since only God can make a home-grown tomato, but sometimes we are forced to – of all terrible things – substitute,  when actually there is no substitution.

After years of seeking the next best thing , it’s come down to this – if home-grown is a no-go , you’re better off with tiny tomatoes. Cherry. Grape. Cherry Berry, Sweet Pea… Those little guys pack a powerful punch!

After trying all the “full size” varieties out of season – Holland on the stem (watery and bland), plum or Roma ( mealy), Hydroponic (expensive and no taste whatsoever), imported, exported, red, yellow, varigated…all proved horrible in one way or another. Please, for once I have to admit, less really is more. Bring on a miniature tomato – the smaller the better!

While slicing those itty-bitty tomatoes isn’t easy, their intense flavor and pleasing  texture might carry you through until summer without ruining your hamburger or BLT. Which brings another brilliant idea to mind…

Next time when pan-frying bacon, be sure to place a foil covered brick on top of strips. It will stop all that nasty curling and prevent uneven cooking. Flip when needed and brick (a verb) the other side. It will cook to perfection, flat, crispy and perfect for sandwiches, as a side dish, or by itself!

Brick your bacon!

Your Kitchen is an “Oasis”

Never underestimate the power of steam released from your cooking. This African violet is thriving after being placed close to my stove top, but away from the heat.  It was a “plant rescue” (actually found in someone’s garbage!) and now is blooming monthly from a little “kitchen care”.

The humidity provided by steamed dishes, pastas, and soups can result in

Super-healthy African Violet

some gorgeous, healthy plants – as well as a glowing complexion!

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