Gardening Confession: Why I’m not growing…

June 22, 2010 § Leave a comment

It’s time for a little brutal honesty.  Please forgive the extra sentence or two that it takes to get to the point, but this feels a bit like confessing that I harbor a secret dislike of puppies and kittens.  I have no interest in growing tomatoes.   While tomatoes are lovely and delicious, I’m not interested in growing them for a number of reasons.

Location and weather issues: There is the fact that I live Redmond, WA and even now in late June, the weather is dreary  and the temperature is still hovering under seventy degrees.  Not great weather for nurturing plants that thrive in long, warm, sunny summers.  In fact, tomatoes are so tricky to grow here that people have all sorts of special arrangements to make it work. One set of our neighbors grows tomatoes on another’s property because their garden doesn’t get warm enough. And then, there are those ugly walls o’ water that people seem so fond of here.

The effort-pay off ratio: Of all the plants that infatuate gardeners, tomatoes seem to be one the most temperamental and labor intensive. The soil, sun, temperature, and timing  need to be just right; it probably doesn’t hurt to consult a personal astrologer to divine before undertaking tomato planting.  Then there are the first  flowers remove, suckers to pinch off, and regular, deep watering.  Should it rain while you have nearly ripe fruit on the vine, you may have cracked tomatoes on your hands, so you’re faced with either picking under-ripe fruit or crossing your fingers and hoping for the best.  Here is where I mention (again) that I live in the Pacific Northwest and summer’s arrival has been delayed indefinitely.

A little friendly competition: I refuse to be suckered into a family tomato-growing competition.  My brother and his wife grew an amazing crop of tomatoes on their balcony last year.   My father decided he would join in the fun, but forgot to stake his plant, so the stem bent an unnatural angle, and while the plant still produced tomatoes, they were inedible and well, let’s just say he still hasn’t heard the end of it. 

Not everyone *loves* tomatoes:  There, it had to be said because it is true. As it happens, my husband prefers his tomatoes to be rather unrecognizable, mostly in ketchup or marina form. I am definitely not interested in being responsible for eating tons of fresh tomatoes all by myself.  Plus, who likes the idea of chucking unconsumed tomatoes in the yard waste bin.

There, that’s enough confessing from for one day.  Now, I’m wondering what other gardeners aren’t growing.

P.S.- I love puppies and kittens, especially house-trained ones…

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