And there it was.
A tomato, peeking out from behind a velvety green leaf.
Well, I was dancing.
Alone in the early morning light of my first little I-can-eat-what-I-grow garden where I’d planted exactly one type – and one variety of said type – of vegetable.
I’d broached the idea with my friend, Chris, this past winter. Chris is a crazy good and experienced gardener, capable of not killing both flowers and delicious, edible fruits and vegetables.
Chris was certain that I could also not kill fruits and vegetables… in that way that people who are very certain that – since they are good at and/or enjoy something, you will be too.
They are always so certain that I will like skiing ‘once I get out there’, where I will commence with screaming down a mountain at warp speed in sub-zero temperatures.
But I felt that growing produce might not be so life threatening to me. And, since the poor vegetables really wouldn’t have a voice in any of this (because, no voice box), the only resistance would have been put up by me.
And Chris was so sure!
So we settled on one crop, and that was to be tomatoes.
She even gave me the little baby plants!
At the very beginning of June, she handed me two tiny little plastic pots, each containing a single stem and round about six leaves.
Early the next morning, I dug two little holes and planted both babies. And, per the instructions on the side of a gallon-sized plastic bag with big, beautiful red tomatoes emblazoned on its side, I sprinkled exactly 1/4 cup of tomato food around each plant.
And watered thoroughly.
And placed a pretty climbing cage over each tomato toddler.
And then… The Waiting.
Every morning I would go out and water my little tomato plants, and talk to them in a kind and coaxing manner.
And then lots of days passed.
And then weeks.
And then, one morning, the complaining started.
“My tomato plants aren’t working.” I announced to Chris during a morning walk, “I’m doing something wrong.”
“No you aren’t. Just wait.” She said, with the pleasance of a saint.
Didn’t she know who I WAS?!
I have no patience, and I always forget to water my plants. So, after weeks of daily waterings and talkings, I was mildly frustrated at the fact that my little plants had grown, maybe, a few inches. My reasoning was that I had pulled approximately thirteen thousand weeds, including vines, in that time, and those vines were growing feet each day!
A few measly inches of tomato growth seemed, somehow… disrespectful.
More weeks went by and I complained to Chris again.
“Not even one tiny hint of a tomato.” I said one day while we were in her yard. “LOOK! You have, like EIGHT! All I have are stupid little yellow flowers. Should I pinch them off?”
“Uh. No.” She said with authority and also pity, “Those flowers are your tomatoes. Each flower is the beginning of a tomato!”
I was so excited.
I had a LOT of flowers on my little tomato plants.
I went home that day and told my plants that they were doing great, and that I was sorry I’d suggested they were ingrates.
One early morning, the first small green orb made itself known.
A few more appeared that week.
They grew, and more little ones appeared.
Two weeks ago, I wondered out loud when they would turn red (some were very big). And, sure enough, Chris said, “Just wait. It will happen.”
I know. The Yodas of the world. They can make you feel calm… or stabby.
Well, last week I took the photo above.
I’d headed out one morning with my big watering can, and there it was.
A gift from the earth that I had urged, encouraged… pressured, threatened… and sprinkled with water and wonder.
I gasped and did a little jig.
I called to JoHn.
I ceremoniously picked my tomato and cradled its ripened redness in the palm of my hand and showed it to him.
Sure, I know.
People grow them all the time.
Bazillions of them show up every year without fanfare.
This was not the world’s first, nor greatest tomato.
But it was mine.
Thanks for readin’ (and thanks, Chris!)
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