Dreaming of Tomatoes

Dreaming of Tomatoes

Oh man, has it been a rough summer for the garden!

Between a rough June for us healthwise, extended 100* temps and water restrictions on the acequia (curtailment) in July, and a late-to-arrive monsoon season here in the high desert, we’re kicking off August at about 1/5th our original potential for production this year in our Kitchen Garden.

bush beans

Left are:

  • Bush beans (which have been consistent, if not prolific)
  • Soy beans
  • Tomatoes (about 75% of what was originally planted)
  • Beets
  • A few carrots
  • A couple of inch tall basil plants
  • Tomatillos (50% of what was originally planted)
  • A few young squash
  • Some very sad peppers
  • Potatoes
  • A few experimental artichokes
  • A bunch of seeds I shoved in the ground a few weeks ago that I’m not sure will germinate even with the rains

It’s been truly heartbreaking to see everything die back or get eaten by pests and has brought to my awareness just how grateful I am that we’re not yet dependent on any income from our little Hobby Farm here.

However, with what’s left in the garden, there remains hope!

Hope in the form of small, yellow tomatoes especially!

cherry tomato

See, this was supposed to be a banner tomato year for us (in my fantasies, at least).

I started seeds very early, carefully tended, up-potted, and moved around starts, labelled everything, plotted where it would live for the summer in the garden, and oversaw the planting out.

It was going to be divine.

It was going to be bountiful.

It was going to include cases of homemade sauce and salsa for our pantry.

And then they didn’t get staked as early as they should have and then the bugs came followed by drought followed by the hornworms followed by the ducks (who have somehow acquired a taste for tomatoes and nothing else in the garden) followed by the realization that, unbeknownst to us, several of our plants were hit by Curly Leaf Virus in June.

And so, once again, I am humbled by the garden and my Mother Nature.

: : : sigh : : :

And yet…

There are tomatoes on the vines of the healthiest plants and the rains have perked them all up and the tomatoes are slowly. . .s l o w l y. . .beginning to give us their sweet fruits!

Ember in the Garden

A couple of evenings ago, Ember and I harvested three itty bitty cherry tomatoes while checking the garden.

She carried them tenderly around the property before bringing them inside, sitting down purposefully on the couch, and eating them one by one.

Heaven for this girl of ours who will only eat tomatoes when they are in season.

And then she asked for more and even said “Please, Mama!”

And so I had to explain to her that they’re not all quite ready yet and we have to wait patiently for more to ripen.

And she was so sad about it, but accepted it calmly and moved on.

The next morning, however, as I sleepily made my way out of bed and down to make myself some tea while the rest of the house still slept, I heard Ember quietly say (in her sleep, mind you), “More tomatoes. I want more tomatoes, Mama!”

Ah yes, Baby Girl, I’m dreaming of tomatoes, too.

And so, that morning, another two tiny tomatoes were ready when I did the chores and I was able to surprise her and she was so happy!

The bounty is slowly increasing!

The anticipation is ridiculous and the payoff is divine and I’ll take it, every second of it, because it’s real and because it’s all so very worth it.

The first tomatoes

And so now we’re up to five cherry tomatoes and two Speckled Romans in a single harvest and life is (and homegrown tomatoes are), truly and deeply, so very good.

xoxo,
M

Linking up to Harvest Monday

Written by Melissa @ Ever Growing Farm

12 Comments

  1. Jessie

    My tomato dreams aren’t being realized this year either. I had the “brilliant” idea to plan a row in the orchard, put nice cages around them…and then shortly after the geese got large all the leaves goose height and lower disappeared and all that was left were green sticks. I haven’t seen the geese do it but I’m confident they were the culprits… better cages next year! Fortunately I have two cherry tomato plants by the back door so we aren’t completely tomato less!
    Jessie recently posted…Ivy’s Favorites at Nine Years OldMy Profile

  2. Margaret

    Every year is started with the optimistic expectation that it will be the “best year ever!” – and most of the time it’s not. But that doesn’t stop us from appreciating & savouring what we do get – be it bountiful or meagre. The gardeners motto? There’s always next year 🙂

    1. Melissa @ Ever Growing Farm

      So true. We do this all to ourselves willingly 🙂 I’d much rather live in a state of hope with the potential for disappointment than the other way around!

  3. Michelle

    We gardeners have to be the most optimistic and hopeful creatures. We keep on going in the face of bad weather, bugs, diseases, critters, and just plain dumb mistakes. And you are so right, the rewards are so worth it. That first tomato is always the best and the homegrown ones are always better than any you can buy.

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