Ed and I are engaging in another bit of verbal sparring. This time it is about my tomatoes. I think that we’re going to have dozens, based on the look of my plants. Each of my robust 12 main-season tomato plants has four or five tomatoes that look like this:
But Ed says there are none because he defines a tomato as being red and sitting on the kitchen counter, ready to be sliced and eaten. I have assured him that they are on the cusp of ripening, and this statement is met by a stare of disbelief and occasional derisive comments. My two cherry tomatoes plants have a few tiny tomatoes, where to the discerning (and myopic) eye you can see the blush of red on them.
I set myself up for this because I’ve been strutting around saying that we would have tomatoes by July 15—which now has come and gone without ripe tomatoes. I felt sure that, because of the warm spring and early start, I’d have tomato juice dribbling down my chin by now. But no matter what I do, it seems, I can’t manage to get tomatoes before August 1. When they do start, we are inundated, and I’m about tomatoed-out by the end of September, when the season starts to wind down. There are, indeed, only so many tomatoes I can eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And we do use them for sauces and in stews, edible well into the winter. That’s not the same as the fresh ones.
This has been a challenging gardening year (aren’t they all?), with the early heat and now the prolonged dryness. Considering what is going on in the rest of the U.S., I feel like a wimp complaining, but my municipality has made things worse by imposing watering restrictions (watering for me is allowed only on odd-numbered days), and I’m back to saving my bathwater and praying for rain. Yesterday’s thunderstorm that broke the fourth heat wave has helped—temporarily. But I do need to water the new plantings, especially the burgeoning carrots, every day. Luckily, a bit of soap scum and sloughed skin cells don’t bother them.
Still, we have eaten out of the garden about every day since the end of April, and (no matter how things go with the tomatoes), we’ve got green beans and squash about ready for picking.
At the moment, my white onions are the current stars of the garden.
Some are nearly the size of tennis balls, and they are delicious—sweet enough to eat without much cooking. (I am, however, fantasizing about a tomato-onion salad, with vinaigrette and chopped parsley.)
The mid-July garden looks like this:
The broccoli had a tough time because of the heat. The heads were small and they tended to flower before getting bigger. The beets were delicious but they’re now gone, and the row on the lower left is replanted with carrots.
The covered row on the right is Brussels sprouts, which replaced the broccoli. Bush beans are to the right of the pole beans, intended to extend my bean season into the fall, once the pole beans are about tapped out. These are lovely filet beans.
I’ll be harvesting the rest of the onions today, and the two onion rows will be replanted this weekend with more carrots and fall beets. Then I just weed and wait for peppers, eggplants, and red/real tomatoes.