Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Tale of the Attacking Tomato Plants

Once upon a time in a land far, far away, a young lady had the idea to plant her tomato plants in a new spot in her yard. She realized that if she planted her tomatoes near the air conditioner drain line, they would be watered every time the a/c went on, and therefore the hotter it got, the more they would be watered. She planted five little baby plants near the drain and waited.

A few weeks later they grew out of the cages she had planted them in. And they started to climb on the a/c unit. Worried that they would interfere with the efficiency of the machine, she rigged a netting/ bamboo stick fence to keep the now 4 foot tall vines away from the a/c.

Worries about birds and squirrels were alleviated when it seemed they were blind to the tomatoes (they were too busy eating peaches).

A week later she noticed that the marigold and watermelon plants she had put under the tomatoes as companion plants were all dead and smothered. She brushed away the concerns and went back to kneeling on the ground and reaching in to get the beautiful delicious ripe tomatoes.

She bragged on Facebook and her blog about the bowls of tomatoes she was harvesting long after others had stopped producing.

One muggy morning she discovered the tomato plants had reached all the way across a five foot walkway and one could not reach the gate behind to take out the trash. A little concern reached her conscious mind, but since it was late July she knew the plants were almost done, so she put a couple more tomato cages as a barrier to the vines and kept harvesting tomatoes.

The next month the sunflowers stopped blooming and stink bugs arrived on her tomatoes. Her precious tomatoes were now marred by speckles! Sometimes they didn't taste as good! She figured she had harvested plenty, so let them be. Surely they would die soon and then the family could use the space for something else. This plan worked until her husband noticed the fruit rotting on the vine and would bring in pints at a time. She froze them as fast as he harvested, planning to make sauce. Her freezer was soon full of gallon bags of tomatoes. And the vines kept creeping.

They were hanging over every barrier they had placed. The vines moved 4 feet over and took over the passion flower trellis. They continued to threaten the a/c, the path, and the lives of whomever ventured over there.

Finally the weather started to change. The temperature dropped closer to freezing. But the vines would not give up! It's just wrong to cut up a vine that is still producing, so the husband wearily harvested.

Four days before Christmas, she finally called it. She took some clippers and a big plastic bin and went to attack the vine. She mercilessly cut off branches with ripe and unripe fruit. She ripped off vines that were dead. She slowly freed, one by one, all of the barriers that had been put into place all year long. She uncovered the trellis for the passion flower and grass that had been buried by vines. She shook the fruit onto the ground for reseeding next year (no, she hadn't learned her lesson).

As she surveyed the destruction, she began to plan next year's garden. She knew it was dangerous. She knew they could be smothered in bell peppers or cucumbers or tomatoes again, simply by putting the plants near the a/c. But she knew as long as Austin was hot, she would be using that spot for her favorite veggies.

2 comments:

Kim P. said...

Cute post =) Glad it was such a success!!

Treehouse-Dweller said...

LOL! I loved it! My mom had a surprise harvest of tomatoes too- though not quite as aggressive as yours. Hers thrived from the moment she neglected them!