Sunday, February 14, 2016


We have tomatoes! I mean actually growing in our “garden.”

They are growing in the derelict planter box in the narrow planting area between the  patio wall and the public/common lawn. There are also green peppers growing in a pot by the doorway.

This is incredible news for a brown-thumber like me who’s been called a herbicidal maniac. Even the way the tomatoes are growing reflects that.

I had bought a you-don’t-have-to-do-anything planter box last year. Everything was in it: growing mix, fertilizer, and anything else that was needed except water and your choice of seeds. I added those, but I think that in an overdose of caution I must have put too many seeds into the box. True to the advertising, the seeds grew -- all of them. The tangled mass of stalks and leaves yielded a total of six stunted tomatoes. Even so, I was not much  disappointed because  in view of my record with this sort of thing I hadn’t let my hopes get too high.

The planter box was discarded, removed from its prominent place on the patio railing and dropped into the narrow planting area and forgotten. And now it’s growing again. Unattended and mostly un-watered, it has a sizeable green tomato and another smaller one, and numerous blossoms that apparently turn into the tomatoes.

The green peppers, which came out of nowhere, are small but perfectly formed, and I have eaten two. Not quite as flavorful as the store kind, but that’s only because the commercial growers work all sorts of treatments on them. These are organic; nothing in that pot but soil mix. The tomatoes are presumably working on what remains of last year’s fertilizer, but they’ve never seen any pesticides, and that’s close enough to organic for me.

We’re looking forward to a real treat. Store tomatoes aren’t worth buying. They have no flavor, and I remember reading that, tested for vulnerability to collision damage, they outperformed Detroit automobile bumpers. I’ve been slashing them apart and smothering them with black pepper to make them edible. And all that seems about to change. If the desert winds keep warming the days as they usually do this time of year and the nights don’t get too cold, we could have a real harvest.   I can taste them already.