Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Grow Write Guild Prompt #8: The Essence of Summer

To me, nothing saying summer quite like two plants: the tomato plant and the strawberry plant. Since I did not grow strawberries this year, I'm just going to speak briefly on it, before spending most of my time on the tomato.

To me, strawberries usher in the summer. Once the warmer weather decides to stick around, strawberries are the first thing in my area to pop up delightfully at the farmer's market or (in the past) in my yard. They scream: Now you don't have to look longingly at those giant, tasteless, California-grown, mutants they carry in the grocery store in the middle of January! NOW YOU CAN HAVE ME! They are perfectly sweet. They make an easy, killer jam, and they are the start of my summer.

But, once my summer really gets going, I mean, when it is so hot out that I can't fathom wearing a bra and a t-shirt (swimwear doesn't feel as sticky for some reason), it is the tomato that waits for me.
Black cherry tomato
I start my tomatoes sometime in March, when the weather is terrible and I long for spring to get going. I care for them very tenderly, making sure that they have everything that they will need to grow big and strong. I name them and talk to them. When it is time to go into the ground, after three weeks, they take off like weeds and I scurry to keep up with their growth.
Sometimes, I don't even have to do that. Five or six tomato vines have given me fruit this year, and I didn't even plant them. They have overgrown from the fruit that I let go to seed.
Wild tomato
I love the way my hands smell like tomatoes after I touch their leaves. I love that, left to their own devices, they will more or less take care of themselves. And, naturally, I love them in a noodle stir-fry.

I love that the wild tomato plant grows like a wild beast in every direction. I love that for the past two years, a rather rotund green caterpillar with a spike on it's rear-end has made an appearance on my plant, but only for a day (Since typing this I have found out that it is actually a tomato hornworm that enjoys munching on my greens. He's cute enough that he can stay. Not that I could find him again if I wanted to.). I love that Harley guards the sweet little orbs like it's his precious, because he knows that if he looks cute enough, he will be given permission to take one.

More than that, I like how some look like butts.
And brains.
And noses (yeah, we'll keep this innocent).
And some look like something beautiful and weird out of a science fiction novel.
While other look like abstract clumps.
But more than anything, they are the bright pops of colour in my yard that let me know I'm doing something right (And that it's time for some spaghetti!).
Don't you just love summer?

This is part of the Grow Write Guild as started by Gayla Trail at You Grow Girl.


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