Sunday, July 15, 2007

Potted Tomatoes

I love tomatoes -- when they taste like tomatoes. The problem arrives when you go into mass production; it takes a lot out of the soil to produce that wonderful, intense tomatoness that catches you in the corner of the mouth. My rule is very simple-- never grow more than one tomato plant in the same soil. Period. I'll admit that I do periodically buy grocery store tomatoes, but only the biggish cherry guys in the little mesh bag or the hothouse fruit grown by Eurofresh, which offer enough flavor to enhance a small hamburger. (An Arizona outfit, BTW.)

This year is my most successful year for pot-grown tomatoes. Last year I tried two 5-gal. containers on my flat roof, thinking that plenty of sunshine was the ticket. How wrong could I get! The poor plants fried when our late June/early July sun hit them every afternoon. So in early May, I bought a 6-pack at the WallyMart and tucked the little fellows in among my other plants. Cherry tomatoes, by the way-- I'm an impatient sort.

Quite a few fruit were set before the days of the hot sun arrived. Besides, the other plants have provided welcome cover. In fact, some of the ripening clusters have never seen the direct sun! Right now, it's too hot to set more tomatoes; however, once the rains arrive (if they ever do arrive), the plants should start producing again. And, in a week, I am to inherit several more potted tomatoes courtesy of the SIL, he of the ag degree and the 10 green thumbs. He wanted a good home for them when he leaves on the Alaskan adventure.

A question: where is it written in stone that, while flowered plants should be scattered artfully in the garden, food plants belong in rigid, straight rows? The tomato above is sharing its pot with a snapdragon and several morning glories. Veggies often are as pretty as any flower and deserve feature status!

Notes: Karen at The View from My Chair is back from vacation complete to her 8 fascinating facts; give it a read. And Chatoyance has come up with her quirky take on the four questions about her glass. One more link: steveg over in Germany had his camera ready when his wife discovered a silky little bat at the door. A pretty little fellow. And I am reading a fascinating historical: Quicksilver, #1 in the Baroque Cycle by Neal Stephenson. Imagine, if you can, a novel focused on the British Royal Society, science and the roots of the Age of Reason instead of ripped bodices or pirates or military conquests or the trials and tribulations of a dysfunctional historic family.


stitchwort said...

Mixing fruit and veg with flowers is a good way to dodge the pests. They say that if the veg are laid out in tidy rows, the pests can pick them out, but muddled with other plants, they are harder to spot.

Granny J said...

Hi, Ms. Stitch -- Maybe yes, maybe no. I always thought that tomato leaves were deadly to most critters -- except those voracious caterpillars that feed on all manner of solanaceae. However, each year at this time, I am plagued by grasshoppers, who, I note, dine quite happily on tomato plants!

Anonymous said...

We know very little about growing them, but the vine tomatoes taste better, in Germany, then the others. Most are imported. When on Gran Canaria, I learned that the two big products that they export are tomatoes and bananas. Thanks for the blurb.

Granny J said...

The outfit I mentioned (Eurofresh) ships their tomatoes attached to a small section of vine. Still not quite as tasty as fresh from the garden.

k said...

Oh, I agree wholeheartedly about the pretty veggie plants mixed in the *regular* decorative ones. I mean, they sell certain peppers strictly as ornamentals, right? And kale. Others too.

And even if they weren't so pretty, whyever not?!? Good heavens! Not a crime.

Even if they getcha cited again...;-)

Granny J said...

Hey,k -- I was cited for weeds, not for veggies. Besides, that was back in Chicago long ago.

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