MY COUSIN AND I USED TO CALL EACH OTHER after preparing our first summer BLTs that featured the perfect tomato harvested from our respective gardens. This notification came like clockwork back when we lived in greater Detroit. It was usually the end of July as the days began to shorten when the first picking took place. Talk about anticipation, waiting for the green knobs to turn bright red, best described as feeling like Christmas in July.
We never played one-upmanship for who’s tomato was best, we simply shared on the phone the absolute delight the tomatoes brought us. We weren’t even the least bit embarrassed that a vegetable (or, is it a fruit?) could bring forth such happiness and satisfaction. Truth be known, it is one of life’s great gifts.
Today, I am faced with too much shade in most my up north garden and thinning hundred-year-old Maples is not in my budget, or in my neighbor’s, as truthfully, the trees are on his property. Tomatoes do not like partial shade, that I have learned from my past attempts. The last couple years I have moved the plants to big plastic pots so I can place them in the sun on my patio.
In my lifetime I’ve tried many approaches to creating tasty tomatoes and each year there seems always to be a new idea that promises plump, red, tasty tomatoes. Baking soda and Epsom salt is this year’s recommendation. I’m going to dress the plants each week at the soil line with a teaspoon each and see if there is anything noteworthy.
I will end this little vignette by placing a call to my cousin explaining my new suggestion to growing the perfect tomato. He too will be excited to try this new approach.