It’s almost tomato time

MUG-072512-Ingram-FloydI’ve always been told it takes 60 days from the time you plant a tomato to the time you can start harvesting fruit.

If you do the math that means those of you that planted the end of April should be serving bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches this week.

Yes, I know some of you have been eating tomatoes for some time. You are the folk who plant your vines in late winter and carefully cover and uncover if frost threatens.

I don’t have time for that and I’m one of those who has to stop by those merchants on the Square until my crops comes in.


Southern tradition


Growing tomatoes in the backyard is a Southern tradition.

My grandmother was the one that taught me tomatoes were a “moon vine” and needed to be planted the weekend before Easter.

That bit of green knowledge was passed down to her by her grandmother in a day and age when people were a little closer to the earth and watched the sun, stars and seasons a little closer.

Her logic was the tomatoes would be given a little boost by the full moon and grow with additional vigor.

I recently spotted something on the Internet backing up her claim.

As our culture goes to bytes of information rather than conversation, it’s good to know some of those old ways still ring true.


Look at my tomato


There is something very satisfying in planting something small and green in the ground and watching it bear fruit.

I can’t tell you how many times I have had people call the newspaper and ask me to come out and take a picture of something they have grown in their garden with their own green thumbs. It’s part of the job I like best.

I’ve seen tomatoes that were so tall they were picked with a step ladder. I once took a photo of a man who planted one in a barrel next to his house and it grew so tall he had to get on the roof to pick tomatoes. I saw a tomato that when sliced in the middle it covered a dinner plate. That tomato measured 10-inches across and weighed almost two-pounds.

I’ve got kinfolk that grow hanging tomatoes and they have learned how to plant and care for them in a fashion where they have homegrown tomatoes as late as September.

I also know people who don’t eat tomatoes but plant them every year and then give tomatoes away to all their friends and family.


Ingram Plantation tomatoes


I’m still learning the details of the red, sandy soil of Houston. I am struggling with my tomatoes this year.

I planted them just like grandmother said and then we had a cold spring. We mulched them and they started growing again when the sun finally came out.

Then we had about three weeks when it didn’t rain enough. I learned years ago tap water doesn’t nourish tomatoes like God’s good rain. I have been told it is something to do with the chemicals they use to clean our water.

We’ve got lots of trees on my lot and as any tomato grower knows, tomatoes require a lot of sunshine.

The bottom line is I have about three plants that looks like they will do well this summer.

Smile and wave this summer as you pass me shopping on the Square. Better yet, why don’t you be so kind as to bring me a homegrown tomato?


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