This Week in the Garden: Tomatoes

Real estate is limited in my little garden. Location is everything. Demand is high for a limited supply of desirable spots. It doesn’t happen often, but plants that fail to meet expectations get evicted.

Plant selection reduces evictions. Different plants have specific needs and tolerances for temperature, water, light, and soil chemistry. Selecting an appropriate plant for the spot often involves some trial and error. Labels help, but don’t always include everything you need to know.

Few things taste better than a vine-ripened home-grown tomato. Growing them has been a challenge for me here in Georgia. My mouth waters and my eyes tear up when I think about the grocery bags of surplus tomatoes I gave away every summer back in Kentucky.

Consequently, deciding where to plant tomatoes is the first step in planning my summer garden. Deer have easy access to the best spots. The next best is a narrow strip in the fenced-in backyard with just enough room for four plants.

Four plants went into the ground in April. Three of the four were healthy and robust. A few weeks ago, I replaced the sickly plant with a different variety. It’s just about caught up with the others.

In no time at all, the healthiest plant was covered with blooms. I’d stuck the tag in the ground and Googled the variety name to learn it was a cherry tomato. Even home grown cherry tomatoes are awful. I waited to taste a ripe one, just in case, then replaced it with a tastier variety.

So far, so good. Healthy plants are blooming and setting fruit. Could this be the year for a bountiful harvest? I ain’t counting any chickens….

Granny always said pointing at the fruit was bad luck, so I don’t. Can’t be too careful. Maybe my dream of a homegrown tomato sandwich will come true. I’ll keep you posted.