You Say Tomato, But Does Anyone Really Say Tomahto?
In the dead of winter, I dream of tomato plants. It gets me through the day. I love the idea of vegetable gardening . . . correction, of the Edenesque, utopian vegetable garden that really only lives in my mind.
Before the work begins, gardening sounds like a swell proposition: sunshine, birdsong, and baskets full of nutritious veggies that I’ve grown with my own two hands. What’s not to like?
Then early June saunters in and the back-breaking tilling, soil amending, digging, and planting ensues, and I like it a little less.
Then the stinking weeds grow like, well, weeds, super-powered by my soil amendments. And a commune of insidious, hippy-like slugs decides to hole up in my organic baby broccoli, no doubt enjoying the weed(s).
And finally, when an ornery bout of early blight sneaks in seemingly overnight and turns my tomato leaves into shriveled up, spotted, yellow pockets of plague, I’m about ready to throw in the towel (or perhaps that should be trowel.)
Until, that is, I happen to catch a glimpse of the first, perfect little tomato shyly emerging from its golden petal cocoon, and I fall head-over-heels in love with the whole homegrown veggie idea all over again.
Vegetable gardening is not for wimps. It’s a hobby rife with bug battles and fickle emotions and glorious rewards.
In the end, though, there really is nothing quite as heavenly as a red, ripe, garden-fresh tomato. A little sprinkled sea salt, cracked black pepper, a whisper of balsamic reduction, basil, and some silky, sliced, fresh mozzarella, and it’s love on a plate.
And, thus, my tomato plant dreams begin anew.