I don't remember why I decided to plant tomatoes this summer. Because my gardening skills are dismal, I haven't done it in years, and have depended on the kindness of friends and neighbors and the prowess of local farmers to provide my favorite summer produce. Predictably, my tomato plants were not great producers. This may have had something to do with the fact that I dropped them in the ground and ignored them. Every now and then, with no effort on my part, I plucked a few off the vine and they were delicious.
A couple of weeks after I dropped my little plants into the ground, I noticed that they seemed to be falling over. Though you can't tell from the picture, there were four different varieties. Do I remember what they were? Of course not, and the labels are buried somewhere in the soil. I planted them way too close together, and installed my tomato cages upside down, and too late. I had to drag the tangled branches through the wires, breaking several in the process. When the cages toppled after a rain, I shrugged.
As the summer comes to a close, my tomato patch is a sad sight. But there are still a few tomatoes hanging on, and I'm keeping an eye on them. The fruit I picked this summer was delicious. They weren't going to win any beauty contests, but they were juicy, fresh, and perfect on a piece of toast with a little bacon and some mayonnaise.
The little green ones — possibly called green grapes — were the most successful. Maybe because they were so small, they grew quickly. Almost every time I went to the garden, I was able to pick five to ten, and there were always more when I returned. They were a little bit sweet, the seeds were small, and I tasted a hint of salt each time one burst in my mouth. They were pretty close to perfect, and I didn't do a durn thing to make them that way.
Next summer, I'm only planting tiny tomatoes. Sure, I could vow to mend my slacker gardener ways and do things right, but the older I get, the more realistic I am about what I will and will not do. I will never put all my shoes away, I will never keep my car clean for any length of time, and I will never be a responsible cultivator of fruits and vegetables. (Don't worry: I have other lovely qualities, so I'm not completely unbearable.) Why should my lack of enthusiasm for gardening stop me from enjoying the great pleasure of fresh from the vine tomatoes?
Are you a gardener? How wild do you let your garden grow?