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Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Trying Stuff


Trying Stuff


If you want to gain true appreciation for the things others do, try it yourself. 

You cannot truly understand how good professional golfers are unless you try the game yourself.

It is easy to take a musician’s talent for granted.  I am not great at playing guitar, but I appreciate the heck out of listening to someone who plays well.

I never appreciated what effort it takes to be a farmer until this year when I planted two tomato plants.  

My first issue was rabbits. Rabbits were feeding on my freshly planted tomato sprouts.  I solved this problem by sticking a plastic fork next to the plant, a suggestion I saw on the internet…seemed silly, but it worked.

Next issue was water monitoring.  Seems the plants need to be watered often, but over-watering is not good either.  OK, I got that down pat. 

Next my plant was putting out flowers, but only a few of them created tomatoes. Back to the internet and I find that if it is hot, humid and little wind, the flowers will not self-pollinate.  You need to shake the plant periodically to get the pollen flowing, kind of like jerking-off your tomato flowers.  Gross, but it worked and soon I had dozens of tomatoes weighting down my plant.

I figured it is not good for the fruit to hit the ground so I now had to tie up and prop up the tomato shoots.

It took weeks for the fruit to grow and start to ripen.  I’ve heard vine ripe tomatoes are extra tasty so I let the fruit ripen on the vine.  Not a good idea.  Just as I was about to harvest the fruit I found it was cracking, and the cracks caused the fruit to rot and let in bugs.  I had to toss several nice tomatoes.  Apparently unless you regulate the water really well the fruit expands or contracts in a way that causes the ripening fruit to crack.

I gave up on vine ripening, and pull the fruit as soon as it starts to change color.  I then place the fruit in a paper bag, because the internet told me to.

Just as I thought I had it all figured it out and was enjoying a tomato every night with dinner, I spotted a nasty worm feasting on an about ready to pick tomato.  Now I have to check every day for worms!

It is a lot of effort, I enjoy it and I enjoy the fresh tomatoes at dinner, but holy Hannah…this is just one plant.  A successful tomato farmer must have acres of plants.  That is a shit load of plastic forks, watering, insect controlling and harvesting.


My tomatoes are tasty, but truth be told they are all a little misshapen, have some funny spots and are mostly fairly small, and the color is not uniformly red.  The tomatoes at the grocery are all perfectly shaped, large, spot free and uniformly brilliant red in color.

I enjoy playing guitar, but mostly it gives me a true appreciation for real musicians.  I have enjoyed growing tomatoes, but more than that I am in awe at the effort and skill possessed by a real farmer.

25 comments:

  1. Home grown always taste the best. Congratulations.

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  2. I admire your determination and wondering if the plastic fork idea would work on squirrels.

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  3. You tomatoes look great to me. I have found that the more perfectly shaped and evenly coloured the fruit or veg in he supermarket, the more if lacks in tastiness.

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  4. Here in Australia "real" farmers grow their tomatoes under acres of glass houses with monitored watering, humidity levels, extensive shelter from insects and so on. Ditto many other vine type fruits and veg, like cucumbers, zucchini etc. They are picked while still green and hard to be sure they ship and store well, then speedily artificially ripened when needed at store level, hence the tastelessness of many such items, particularly tomatoes. Homegrown are supposed to have much more flavour. My biggest disappointment with tomatoes is they are all pulp and seeds, very little flesh, impossible to make a decent tomato sandwich unless I slice around the tomato and discard the soggy centre.

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  5. Your tomatoes look very tasty. Unless you grow it yourself, you can't be sure of freshness. Are you going to grow them again next year?

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  6. A home grown tomato...oh dear I'm drooling :) :) :)

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  7. I have just confirmed that I will never plant tomato plants. Never. It's far too much work and I'm not home enough to tend to a couple of tomato plants. I'll go to the store for my tomatoes.

    Bravo for tackling such a not so simple idea.

    Have a fabulous day Joe. ☺

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  8. It is worth having wonky shapes and colors to avoid the chemicals that can get sprayed on commercial tomatoes. I have given up on trying to grow my own vegetables in favor of herbs and flowers, but I support local, small farmers by buying at farmers' markets. When you are looking at heirloom varieties you realize how ugly real tomatoes can be...but also how tasty.

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  9. Growing your own is always best. Your tomatoes look great and I bet they taste great too. Have you tried planting marigolds around your plants. They deter A LOT of bugs n' critters. Also for the worms and other bugs, out here in the west we just use good 'ol salt water. Mix some up in a spray bottle and spritz away. :)

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  10. We have quite a few tomato plants in pots on our deck. My daughter and husband tend to them, because I do not have the patience.

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  11. Those in the store are probably genetically modified and well loaded with chemicals. Yours are the 'real deal'. Don't they smell wonderful when you bring them in from the field?

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    1. Actually they make me sneeze until I wash them...weird allergy. I think store bought are perfectly safe, but not as much fun or as rewarding.

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  12. This has been a particularly difficult summer, so do not beat yourself up I have never seen rabbits eat tomatoes...they do eat almost everything else. We do have problems with getting the watering perfect, but we get so many tomatoes we just feed them to the turtles.

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  13. I know several people who grow tomatoes and they, like you, are vocal about the difficulties. I'm not a big tomato fan and am spared all this.

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  14. But the taste is soooo much better! My grandma used to give me 5 or 6 tomatoes a week from her garden. Much better than the year we tried to grow them.

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  15. Those perfect tomatoes at the grocer's come at a price though. Bland cultivars without much taste; lots of chemicals to prevent diseases and discourage bugs. Yours, I dare say, taste much better.
    Onward to eggplant and kale. You'll be happy you did.

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  16. There once was a man from New Jersey
    Whose tomato plants came up all furzy.
    In spite of his work,
    His wife called him a jerk
    And I can't get a last line to rhyme!!

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  17. I always buy the misshapen heirlooms - they taste the best! The uniform ones we get in the grocery store in winter taste like cardboard with seeds. Congratulations on your crop. Walking in someone's shoes does give us a better idea of the hardships and work involved.

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  18. Store bought look better, home grown taste much better but the best tomatoes are the ones your neighbor grows and shares with you. Let him do all that seed to fruit worrying and care stuff

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  19. I tried my hand at gentleman farming a number of years ago, and the results were tasty, but the time involved and the money I spent made them cost double the store bought kind. Congrats to you for your persistence. :)

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  20. I didn't grow any this year. I was a little disheartened last year when I grew the most enormous plants loaded with fruit which refused to ripen, then split, then went black - I'll try again next year when I've forgotten about that.

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  21. Amazing about plastic forks keeping rabbits away. I'm gonna try that trick with annoying people - do you think that might work?

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