Gearing up for tomato crisis 2010

Let me first say that I love tomatoes. I love slicing a lovely ripe tomato into thick slices, sprinkling some salt on top and devouring it all. Or popping grape tomatoes like they were bon bons. And there’s nothing better than homegrown tomatoes. All of that aside, I may not be ready for what is about to happen in my backyard.

The manfriend grew up on 12 acres in rural Vermont. When he was little, they had a “garden” so large that it provided almost all of the produce they needed for a family of four. I put garden in quotes because garden is hardly the word for what they were doing. Small scale farming is more like it. Anyway, on top of growing a ton of produce, they also had chickens and goats. They only ate natural sugars like honey or maple syrup (it is Vermont, after all), and the manfriend’s mom made everything from scratch. Everything. They were organic before organic was cool.

I, on the other hand, had a very different upbringing. Now, I love my mother and I think she’s a great cook (some of the things she can whip up, man!), but some of the stuff we ate growing up (Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, Hamburger Helper, Frosted Flakes, Carnation Instant Breakfast, Easy Cheese) never even graced the manfriend’s mouth as a child. While part of this is enviable, the poor guy was in gustatory hell when he reached college and started eating dorm food. I, on the other hand, had no issues whatsoever.

So when we moved in together, it was no surprise that he would want to start a garden. And so last year he did and I had to admit that it was so fulfilling to eat our own produce. This summer the garden has grown by quite a bit. And the plan for next year will turn 1/4 of our yard, which is substantial, into garden space. This is on top of the large garden box built into our deck, the strawberry patch under one tree, and the garden plot behind our fence on the slope down to the creek behind the house. As my father put it, “Ann, when 1/4 of your yard is for the production of food, it’s no longer gardening. It’s farming.” It must be in the manfriend’s DNA.

A view of half of our yard.

But for this summer we have herbs, 12 raspberry plants, strawberries, cucumbers, zucchini, and more tomatoes than I can even imagine. You see, we have around 30 tomato plants. Yes, 30. No, I’m not joking. His hope is to have enough tomatoes to make a ton (not a literal measurement, but we might come close) of sauce and freeze it for the winter. Um, yeah. I don’t think that’s going to be a problem. Thank god we have a deep freeze in the basement. While he’s concerned about having enough tomatoes, I’m concerned about having enough freezer space.

Looking out over the tomatoes.

All of that aside, I really do appreciate the amount of time and effort he puts into this. Gardening on this scale is a Herculean task. Plus there’s just something hot about him out there in his camo shorts and no shirt, covered in dirt and sweat. And as hobbies go, this is a pretty good one. I will warn you, if I know you personally, I can guarantee you now I have your christmas present all sorted out – a nice jar of homemade tomato sauce!

They're coming!

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2 Comments

  1. Ma

     /  July 12, 2010

    Can I come watch you and the manfriend can all the tomatoes? I’ll try real hard not to lmao. Actually, I can probably sell tickets to the event.

    Reply
  2. You are evil to the core! Does my plight not worry you? Yes, sell tickets and note that everyone who shows up will leave with a can or five.

    Reply

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    My mother is an encyclopedia of useless information (sorry, ma, but it's true) - no one can beat her at Trivial Pursuit. As I age, I become more like dear old mom everyday. I routinely tell people about resources, recipes, tips, tricks, or websites I've heard about, tried, live by, etc. until one of my clients urged me to start a blog. So here it is! My perpetual ramblings. I hope you find them useful and amusing. If you don't, you can either keep it to yourself or leave me a well constructed critique.

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