Volunteering

I saw something wonderful this evening when I was spraying the garden.

No, I don’t do the organic thing. Every few weeks I toss handfuls of cheap-o, dry, chemical tomato fertilizer around the base of my plants and water it in to make them dark green and lovely, and when I see lacy leaves, I spray them with another wonderful chemical product that fights fungal infections and keeps insects from eating them. I was doing the latter this evening when I spied something orange among the lush, healthy-looking tomato plants in the pot labeled “Oaxacan Jewel.”

Each of my pots has two plants this year because I was too wimpy to cull the seedlings, and even after I gave a few plants away, I still had way too many – so I planted all of them. The Oaxacan Jewels are yellow tomatoes that grow huge, heavy, and hideous-looking, cracking long before they’re ripe, but I planted them again this year because they have absolutely The. Very. Best. Flavor. Imaginable.

My goal is always to get a ripe tomato by the 4th of July, but even though I usually start my seeds around Valentine’s Day, that never happens. I always pick for the first time in the second or third week of July. And this year I started them around Scott’s birthday, which made for only one month of tending before planting instead of two, and I punted the peat pellets, which made for much less work during that one month. Having started them so much later than usual, I figured it would be late July before I could pick anything.

But it seems that while one of the plants in the Oaxacan Jewel pot is indeed a Oaxacan Jewel, and the other plant must’ve come from a stray grape tomato seed that found its way into the Oaxacan Jewel seed packet. And sure enough, today I picked one lone grape tomato! And it, as well as all the other still-green grape tomatoes on that plant, has blossom end rot, but the good news is that my Early Girl, First Prize, Better Bush, Big Beef, and Oaxacan Jewel plants all have lots of nice, green, growing fruit, none of which is plagued by blossom end rot. I worked some more egg shells (calcium) into the soil of the affected plant, so although the current grape tomatoes may not be edible, hopefully subsequently-formed ones will be. No great loss, as I wasn’t expecting any grape tomatoes anyway.

I’m just very glad to see something getting ripe out there!

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