Thursday, May 12, 2016

A Tale of a Tomato Vine

tomato, tomatoes, small sunny garden, amy myers, photography, desert garden
...or perhaps a tale of an incompetent vegetable gardener!

Not last winter, but the winter before, just after I had begun the garden, I started some cherry tomato seeds.  The initial idea was to grow them in containers on the front patio.  As they grew, I had further ambitions of turning the area under the dining room window into a kitchen garden.

This meant that a few plants got a trial run in a hastily begun tomato bed, while the rest languished in pots in the patio.  (This was before I realized how difficult the front patio was for plants in the warmer months!)

They grew -- the ones in the ground grew fairly well -- and they flowered and set fruit.  And the birds discovered it.

I think I ate about five cherry tomatoes last spring, and the rest went to feed young sparrows and finches.  Vegetation is so sparse around here that I hardly had the heart to complain at the birds, but I did despair of growing vegetables without completely caging them in, which I don't really want to do.

The erstwhile kitchen garden was rethought as the new White and Silver Garden, and I have been plonking plants in it gradually over the last four months or so.  Meantime, since the birds kindly left seeds around, tomatoes sprouted in the original bed, since made over to a growing Arabian jasmine (Jasminum sambac).  I think it's actually only one or two tomato plants though I'm not sure.
tomato, tomatoes, small sunny garden, amy myers, photography, desert garden
The immediate area was still bare, so there was no reason to pull the seedlings out.  I thought I just might get a few tomatoes for my efforts the year before.  After my difficulties with the birds, I decided not to support it, just to let it grow all over itself.  My hope was that the foliage would protect the ripening fruit.  Oddly enough, it seems to have worked.
tomato, tomatoes, small sunny garden, amy myers, photography, desert garden
Until the heat knocks it out completely I am letting it grow on its own terms.  However, letting it grow means it is now sprawling far futher than I had imagined.  I did, in fact, cut it back a bit on Monday and used the trimmings in my Monday vase.  The mighty tomato has headed into the adjacent North Border, where it has draped itself over shrub Hamelia patens, a small pelargonium, a new Osteospermum, and now the Agapanthus that was planted in open soil not so long ago.  In the other direction it is headed toward the Jasminum sambac which is its official replacement.

For now, I am calling it useful shade (the plants beneath look fine), and I am eating tomatoes.  Lots of them.
tomato, tomatoes, small sunny garden, amy myers, photography, desert garden
Weather Diary: Sunny; High: 99 F (37 C)/Low: 66 F (19 C)

8 comments:

  1. It's funny how nature asserts itself. I'm glad you're able to enjoy some of your tomatoes this year. I can't believe your temperature has already hit 99F!

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    1. Wasn't it nice to get a crop after all... ;-) Actually I've learned a lot by watching the volunteers grow: their sprouting and blooming cycles give me a better idea of when to plant. And yes, we're definitely heading on into summer here -- no extra-long spring like we had last year! At any rate, it's "normal" weather for the region.

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  2. Enjoy the tomatoes. At least you don't have to worry about blight in your dry climate!

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    1. Or pheasants? ;-) Though I'm surprised the quail haven't gotten into them so far; I can just imagine the havoc...

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  3. The secret of a good gardener is working with nature.

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  4. Fascinating! Very beautiful too. I think this tomato just wanted to grow under its own terms and it is obviously much happier and more productive because of it

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    1. A lesson I am trying to learn :) Thanks!

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