Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Sorry, Mom, I've Got Great Tomatoes

Dear Mom,

I know how much you have always loved tomatoes. I remember when we kids were growing up that you always tried to grow tomatoes despite the fact that we lived in Alaska, which is not exactly tomato country.

You started the seeds indoors early in the spring. Then you patiently waited until the last frosts had passed before putting the little plants outside; sometimes you also kept some plants indoors along window ledges all summer long. All you ever hoped for was enough produce for a few nice salads. Some years you got good tomatoes, but mostly it was a struggle. I remember that many years the fall chill hit before the little hard green fruits had a chance to mature. Those years we would have little green tomatoes lined up on the windowsills. Sometimes they would just rot before they turned red. I remember several times when you had a celebratory meal of a couple of small tomatoes which were your only harvest after months of nurturing your plants.

These days I am eating giant, juicy tomatoes from my garden in Mèrida, some of which you can see pictured here. I feel that I almost do not deserve these tomatoes because I have never lifted a finger to plant or take care of them, and that's not because someone else is doing the gardening for me. It just happened. I compost the vegetable scraps from my kitchen, and some of the seeds germinated in an unlikely place, next to the pool. They were either dropped by me or spread by animals, but I am not sure. I think the plants are doing so well due to a combination of lots of water (when I do pool maintenance I drain the water in the garden) and plenty of sun exposure. I read recently in a blog I follow about another's experience with self-seeded tomatoes doing extremely well. This blogger theorizes that self-seeded tomatoes do better than ones we plant because they have adapted better to local conditions.

And the plants are happy. These tomatoes are huge. I wouldn't be surprised if the larger ones weight close to half a pound each.
The tomatoes are large, and so are the plants. I took out a tape measure a couple of weeks ago, and the largest plant measures more than twelve feet across, has covered the paved walkway and gone into the water. This causes come problems with walking around the back garden, and has pretty much done in some of the flowers I had planted nearby, but the good tomatoes are worth it.


  1. We have been researching Merida and I have recently discovered your Blog. Enjoyed going back through your posts and photos. I can see a yummy tomatoe sandwich even as I send this comment. Thank you for sharing.

  2. oh joy! i'm hoping i'll be able to grow tomatoes in the protected area behind the house. just two little oblongs of soil, but maybe enough for two tomato plants? the only plants i've got this year are self-seeded. it will be interesting to see what comes up from the plants i put in last year.


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