Enough Said

Enough Said
A sampling of my columns and why the hell is my picture SO big?

Friday, October 10, 2014

Smallest plants produce the sweetest fruit

Though blurry, he was perfect
Way back in the beginning of the summer my daughter and her husband gave us two tomato plants. They started the little guys from seeds, and mixed up the labels on the flats, so though green and healthy, beefsteak, plum or cherry, we weren't sure what kind of tomato plants they were.
We decided to plant our garden of two in a couple of five gallon buckets on our deck. I watered, gave them names, (Tom and Tommy), snipped the suckers and waited. Tom did well but Tommy was having issues.
My daughter and son-in-law are organic gardeners so I figured perhaps Tommy was in need of something a bit more robust beyond the natural fertilizer provided by their friend's cows. My daughter was disappointed that I went to the dark side of fertilizing, I used a product produced in a lab instead of on a farm. It worked for Tom, his branches filled out and little yellow flowers foretold of a harvest. Tommy on the other hand displayed little change.
I became convinced that though his stems were thin, they seemed strong. Tommy was indeed the runt of the litter. We could have delegated the little guy to the compost pile but because I had committed to his care, I was not going to give up on him, yet.

Tom began to produce dozens of little green pear shaped marbles. Tommy rallied with one yellow blossom. Every time I looked at the smaller of the two plants my heart went out to him. There was something the poor guy needed which we were not giving him and I was at a loss as to what it was. Both plants were watered at the same time, both were fed the same food, they got the same amount of sun and yet the results were so different. It reminded me of how two children with the same parents can turn out so differently.
Because it was obvious that Tommy was struggling we decided that perhaps what he needed was companionship with the seedlings from his nursery. My daughter and son-in-law planted him and his one yellow bloom next to their other tomato plants in the garden adjacent to the house.
As the summer progressed Tom flourished on the deck. He produced lots of little pear shaped tomatoes that were a delicious delight in our summer salads. The garden outside produced so many different kinds of tomatoes that our little Tommy, tucked into a far corner, just sort of slipped my mind. One afternoon I noticed that his one blossom had become a light green, perfectly round tomato a little bigger than a ping pong ball. I wanted to cheer. His stems were still so slim it was a wonder that they just didn't droop and drop their one and only progeny.
My son-in-law went to the garden to pick the last of the ripe tomatoes. Once he finished, he presented me with Tommy's one and only tomato. It looked so perfect, it didn't look real.
That our poor little runt of a plant could produce something so beautiful kind of took my breath away. I had almost given up on him and yet, he came through. On my windowsill, above the kitchen sink, I placed Tommy's perfect little tomato and took a picture of it. I figured if that plant worked so hard to produce one small tomato then I could at least honor the effort by documenting it. Two days later, with a little sadness and a bit of joy I sliced that tomato. It was the best tasting ever and I mean that. Tommy, you did a great job. Thanks. Enough said.


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