One of the most fulfilling aspects of gardening is the progress. Remember these 23 baby tomato plants that went in the earth in January? And then here we were in March where I was shouting, “Oh! A tomato hedge! I have a tomato HEDGE!” Little did I know.
Then I convinced Matt to build a teepee for the tomatoes, thinking this would help keep things in order. How naive! I really should have read a book for four about tomatoes before spending so much time playing in the garden. I didn’t know about trimming back the bushes to keep the tomatoes off the ground. Or anything about suckers. Instead, after our attempt at wrangling chaos with the teepee, we’ve let things go a bit wild.
A month ago, we had our first tomato. She was a big one. An early bloomer. A leader in her field. But little did we know that her delicious flavor would pale in comparison soon enough. The swarms to follow have been earthy, sweet, lush and the scent of freshly picked tomatoes cannot be beat. Just being near the tomato plants this time of year makes me want to dance in circles. I feel like a cross between Julie Andrews and a wild hippie when doing so.
Wild, I tell you. Today, the hedge has grown up to the front door and I’ve got tomatoes — homegrown, organic, lovely sweet delicious OH MY GOD THIS IS WHAT THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO TASTE LIKE tomatoes — coming out of my ears. Now, remind me again why I didn’t start gardening 10 years ago? The best part of this tiny little garden is that I know without a doubt that if I can reap this bounty of a harvest from “borrowed’ HOA land in a condo complex in Phoenix, Arizona — you can grow a farm’s worth by comparison. (I’m making two assumptions there: 1. you have more than 3×4 feet of land to your name. And 2. You don’t live in an oven. With caliche soil.)
This mighty progress is translating to canned tomatoes this weekend. I’m also having friends over for homemade pizza too. My thanks, again, to Finny for inspiring me to take on new hobbies that seem so Herculean, but end up so deliciously fun. (See: knitting, sewing, canning, swearing.)