Soon to Be Summer: Dreaming of Tomato Season

The process of watching a tomato plant grow is a wonderful thing. With tomato season starting soon, dream of your summer tomatoes.

| Summer 2014

  • Photo by iStock/valentinrussanov

It all began in March.

Our mailman inserted a small packet through the mail slot and the future fell gently onto our wooden hallway floor. I had ordered this little envelope of hope from a remote seed grower who promised his product was both organic in certification and heirloom in heritage. I opened the delivery with the same care as if it contained magic fairy dust.

Inside there were 33 seeds, miniature worlds of energy and genetics that could, with care, produce a miracle right here in my tiny suburban yard. The seeds were light tan, flat, and about the size of a 0 written with my word processor. I counted them, and counted them again. Some of the seeds looked healthier than others. The ones I determined healthier were bigger and more uniform in shape.

I immediately began to worry. “What if some of them don’t germinate? What if they produce weak plants? And if all the seeds germinate, how will I have the heart to cull the scrawny plants, preserving only the hardiest for the garden?” The anxiety was already too much to bear and I had not yet set the seeds to soil. Maternity wards have men who pace the hallways with much the same level of concern.

Weeks before, while scrutinizing the plant catalogs, I chose an heirloom tomato seed with the beautiful name of “Rose.” The catalog promised this plant would produce a deep pink, meaty and flavorful fruit that would rival all other tomatoes for taste. It was indeterminate, so staking was necessary, and the fruit would mature in about 78 days.

I decided that there was no time to waste. The adjustable grow-light apparatus must be constructed. The potting soil must be spread in the germinating trays. By the first weekend of May, which happens to be Derby weekend here in Kentucky, the seedlings must be ready for transplanting into their permanent plot in the universe. There they would spread roots below and develop dark green foliage above. And if my dreams would unfold as planned (a rarity) we would pick our first globe of wonder in early July.



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