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What Tomatoes Teach Us About Slowing Down

By the end of my work week, I look forward to some time off. No conference calls, no computers. With hands on hips, I’m able to take a moment in the garden to catch my breath. Surveying my vegetable garden, I’m pleased with how well my tomatoes are doing. For some people, gardening means putting in a few tomato plants, and why not? Provided good sun and water, they almost grow themselves, and the five plants I have are more than enough for my family. Heading back to the house with some fresh basil and tomatoes, I grab a few extra tomatoes to pass over the hedge to my neighbor. Although we couldn’t be any more different (they’re retired, married, no pets, kids are gone), we both share a love of gardening, and spend a few minutes chatting about what’s blooming in our yards. Without the tomatoes would I have taken the time out for myself, or to visit with my neighbor, or would I have just stayed wrapped up in my busy life? I’m glad I’ll never know because I feel calmer and more relaxed, and fresh from the garden still warm tomatoes are amazing.

Once inside I put together a very simple, very tasty supper. Fresh tomatoes and basil, layered with slices of fresh mozzarella cheese, a drizzle of olive oil, and a bit of salt and pepper is my favorite too hot, too tired to cook kind of meal.

The beauty of this is the ease in growing. Basil does great in pots, and space deprived gardeners might want to try a good bush variety tomato, or for a longer harvest, an indeterminate (vining) tomato with good support. Having been cultivated since around 700 AD by the Aztecs, there are a lot of great tomato varieties to try. For something different, try growing an heirloom tomato. They’re usually the funny looking tomatoes found at organic food stores and farmers markets. The one I’ve already got my eye on to try for next year is called “Cherokee Purple”, which yields large pinkish / purplish fruits with a sweet aftertaste. This variety has been around for at least 100 years, and was reportedly grown first by the Cherokee Indians. I’m fascinated by the history behind it, and am eager for something new. And being an heirloom variety, I can always collect seed from them for the following year. That tickles my frugal heart.

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6 comments to What Tomatoes Teach Us About Slowing Down

  • Hey! Is it alright that I go a bit off topic? I am trying to read your domain on my new iPhone but it doesn’t display properly, do you have any suggestions? Thanks for the help I hope! Brock

    • Lisa

      Brock, it’s 100% okay. The funny thing, just this weekend, I was working with a mobile plug in to make it more readable, but it still seems like I have some work to do over the next few days :) . Thanks for letting me know I’m not quite there yet, I really do want to make sure my mobile users are able to access. Thanks much, Lisa

  • A single of the greatest tomato gardening suggestions I learned that actually has made the biggest difference when planting them, is that it is really crucial to plant tomatoes deep. The deeper you can plant them the far better. Your goal is to establish a powerful root system utilizing the stem of the plant as a kind of rod and roots growing not only from the bottom of the stem but off the sides. The stronger the root program, the less likely they will fall all over the place as the plant grows bigger.

    • Lisa

      Audria, excellent point! I still remember helping my dad plant tomato plants as a little girl in the spring. He’d tell me the same thing, and would heel them in. It’s amazing, anything else would shreak w. that abuse, but you’re absolutely right, tomatoes will thrive.

  • PV

    Hey Lisa! If it weren’t for trying to grow tomatoes, I might never have found GW and the WS forum! In the last several years, I’ve gotten my neighbors interested in growing toms – first by sharing my harvest, and now by sharing my WS seedlings.

    Your simple meal of tomatoes, basil and mozzarella is one of my favorites too!

    If you like cherry tomatoes, one you might want to try is ‘Black Cherry’ – so cute and sweet, they very rarely make it inside! Warning, though – they are HUGE plants!

    • Lisa

      You’re a Garden Web Wintersower? That’s definitely my forum of choice, I post in spurts, between daily hecticness. I’m lisa_neeah on GW. I’d say 90% of my garden at this point is wintersown, there’s very little I grow inside anymore. Come December, I plan on posting pics of my ws jugs. Curious, what zone are you? Last year the one thing that did not do well ws were tomatoes. It could have been the seed, this year I plan on trying both growing under lights vs ws and comparing the difference.

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