Today is Monday, April 21, 2014

Nothing like homegrown tomatoes

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By GEORGE ROBERTSON, M.D.Is there anything tastier than a nice red vine ripened tomato, especially if it’s from your own tenderly managed spot? On June 15 we had our first red, ripe tomato and in spite of all of the preparation for the event, I was truly surprised. Usually tomatoes don’t ripen here before the 4th of July, so this early picking seemed fortuitous. I’d been watching the clump of tomatoes in the middle of the vine for several weeks, but lately the enlarging leaves and branches of the plant had obscured the fruit and the green color was perfectly camouflaged by the overgrowth. In spite of the enlarging size and early growth of the tomato, I halfway expected some evil animal to pick it or damage it before it ripened. So, when the leaves covered it I was hopeful that the squirrel that sometimes steals it and takes it up to the nearby tree to eat wouldn’t be able to find it this year. Actually, the early ripening wasn’t all that exceptional on my part as a gardener. Three months ago I found a nice big plant with blooms and small tomatoes already forming on it and bought it at an exorbitant price to transplant in a favorable spot in my garden. If someone else did that I would call it cheating. This explains the early reddening and why all of the other vines which started as seedlings still had green tomatoes on them.         As I savored the sweet taste of the red tomato I had discovered when I pulled back the leaves of the fruit, I tried to remember the variety I had planted there those many days ago. I usually plant the spot in alphabetical order to help remember the variety and help me decide which ones to buy the next year.Maybe I’ll save the seeds from this one and rename it the early victory sweet tomato.Editor’s Note: George Robertson is a physician with Family Medical Associates, PC, in Lebanon.
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