You say tomato, I say tomato

A word of warning to any pessimistic amateur gardeners out there – if you happen to plant a whole crap-tonne of tomatoes seeds, sometimes they all (and I mean ALL) germinate.

This is the first year ever that I have managed to grow tomatoes from seeds and the success of my crop was completely unexpected. Seed germination, like vegan meatloaf and wrapping gifts with panache, has never been one of my strong points.

I germinated them in our little greenhouse and then slowly and carefully introduced them to the real world back in Spring – bringing them into the garden, tray after tray, sunning them for a period of a few hours before tucking them away again. The following day I would repeat the process for a few more extra hours and then again the next day and so on and so on, all so that the blinding shock of the scorching Canadian sun (ahem) didn’t kill them. They would wave all their little seedling heads in the breeze, photosynthesising merrily. Dozens and dozens of them.

When it came time to plant them out, I had so many plants that I didn’t have enough room in my allotted tomato beds. I left the others to sit for a while until one day I came home to find Phil had planted the whole lot willy-nilly through out the rest of the garden, in amongst the kale and the strawberries and even some in the hard earthed, weed infested lavender beds. “Why waste them?” he rightly pointed out. So we have had many tomatoes… and it has been quite wonderful, as you would hope from all that work. There is nothing like a fresh tomato from the vine… bursting with flavour that supermarket produce department managers can only dream of.

And now with the end of the season we also have a bumper crop of green tomatoes that will never quite ripen. These weird little pale creatures lining every kitchen surface have been depressing me, I just don’t have the time or the enthusiasm to pickle, fry & chutney-ise all of them. Like a good citizen I have donated all 134 of them to my friend and fellow islander who makes delicious jams and pickles and sells them at the Saturday Farmer’s Market. She’ll do something fabulous with them. If you ever make it to Salt Spring you must track down her Simply Salty market stall and buy something – anything.

Anyway, the long and the short of it is there is something super satisfying about holding a big fat ripe tomato in your hands and thinking “this came from a tiny seed I poked into a tiny bit of dirt – huh! I managed that!”. It makes me feel quite maternalistic towards my crop. Dear little tomatoes, smiling up at me full of love and gratitude. That doesn’t stop me from cooking them down into tasty pasta sauces. I have never had a problem with anthropomorphising vegetables and then savouring every last delicious morsel.

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6 Responses

  1. shauna says:

    Oh my goodness look at those beauties! I am spewing with jealousy here 🙂

  2. hula-la says:

    YUM…I could live on tomatoes and basil with mozzarella cheese!!!

  3. ajd says:

    They look delicious! Scorching Canadian sun??? In Salt Spring?? I don’t remember that. Maybe too much California sun bleaching my brain… 🙂

  4. Errol McCluskey says:

    Claire they are fantastic CONGRADULATIONS! If you wrap the green tomatoes in newspaper they will ripen. We’ve done that

  5. Caitlin says:

    I’m glad you donated them to your friend, but you know, us west coasters usually have to deal with rain starting in September, so often there are hardly any red ones, and only green ones (you picked a heck of a year to have all your seeds germinate! bravo!) So we just pick them green (because otherwise they rot in the rain) and then put them on newspaper in the basement. They slowly ripen up, and I remember one year we were still eating our own fresh tomatoes at Christmas!

  6. Wonderful tomatos. Ours all died from heat this year so these lush looking tomatos look so good and tasty. Glad you found some easy ones to grow!

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