Back in June, about a month later than optimal, I planted something like 30 tomato starts in my garden. I’d grown them from seed – mostly heirloom varieties, with a couple of hybrid cherries – but neglected to plant them on time because I got too busy. (I’m a passionate gardener, but my ambition always outstrips my organization.) They were spindly and purple-yellowed by the time I put them in the ground; if they’d been Christmas trees, Charlie Brown would have taken them home. Before we started our summer travels, I put down newspapers as a weed barrier, my husband caged them, and we mulched them with straw.
Here’s those runty little plants, ten weeks later:
The bed in the next photo has traditionally been a lost cause because its inhabitants compete with the silver maple’s thirsty roots. But these maters aren’t just holding their own, they seem to think they’re performing a solanaceous version of Jack and the Beanstalk.
Unsurprisingly, given how late I was in planting them out, my cherry tomatoes are doing the best. They’re so rampant that they’ll probably be one big mass of disease before long, but for now, they’re a jungle of delights.
I’ve also got oodles of Snow White, Galinas, Black Cherry, and Sweet Million cherries. Even the Sweet Millions, which are little red guys similar to what you can buy in the stores, have an uncommonly sweet and complex flavor this year. We’ve picked about three-quarters of a gallon in the past 24 hours – and eaten them all. The big guys are mostly still ripening, but I did carve up a Cherokee Purple for lunch.
Never mind manna. To heck with ambrosia. Tomatoes – juicy, tangy-sweet, and warm from the sun – are the favored foods of the gods.