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Monday, May 11, 2009

Tomatoes after Mother's Day.

See this dark cover, with a drip watering system, surrounded by tall grass? That's the way we garden here in the Northwest, with a dark poly cover to attract sun rays and to prevent weeds from chocking the tiny seedlings. Onions, lettuces and peas do well here. I can plant them in succession and have fresh salad ingredients for months-that is if I keep picking them fast, not letting them go to seed. Eventually, though, I want those hot, juicy tomatoes the rest of the world craves during summer months.



I have had some success with tomatoes. First, I must make sure to buy the specialized kind that grow well here. I can't just go to Walmart and wheel out with whatever. I must have early-maturing or small-cherry tomatoes. Nothing bigger. Besides the mulching, thermal looking blanket, my tomatoes will also need plenty of compost. The ground is so washed out, leached, that nothing but sand loving grasses grow here.



And one more thing: I must wait until after Mother's Day to plant tomatoes. It seems that the weather gods-ancient Indian rites-and Alaska winds give us a bit of rest after the middle of May through September. I must hurry to the nursery today, pay whatever they ask, and then rush home to plant.



What did I get for Mother's Day? Tomatoes, or the promise of a sloppy bite on a sunny August afternoon, when, for a few days everything turns bright orange or red, and we sit on the deck, the ocean over our shoulders, with a colorful salad of basil, tomatoes and mozzarella.

43 comments:

Reasons to be Cheerful 1,2,3 said...

I love the Mother's Day poem you posted, it was wonderfully poignant...and as for tomatoes, yum, yum, yum!

Renee said...

That is so neat.

My husband use to garden for years but then our neighbours all around us (their trees) have grown so big they take the sun from where the garden use to be.

He is not planing a garden in the middle of the yard. No, I say. ha har

Love Renee xoxo

Susan said...

Very nice - you have a raincoat for your garden!

We in Iowa don't plant tomatoes (or other plants) until after Mother's Day either - it can still freeze up until then. I'm excited to go out and plant something right now.

Helen said...

I must tell you all four of my children were born in Sept/Oct. I lived in the Midwest where tomatoes reign supreme ... I existed on tomatoes from my grandparent's garden for months. It's a miracle my children weren't born with tomatoes imprinted on their foreheads!!!! Our Farmer's Market can't come soon enough. Have a good week, Rosaria.

Saretta said...

I've never seen gardening like this! Hope your tomatoes will be delicious!

Shadow said...

how yummy, tomatoes, basil, mozarella, a favourite!!! happy growing!!!

Elizabeth Bradley said...

You coax the sun, and we have to protect our tomatoes from too much sun down here in So. California. Seems us gardeners are always wrangling to encourage our plantings in one way or another.

What a lovely Mother's Day gift, tomatoes. In a few weeks you will be reaping the benefits.

Suldog said...

Ah! Tomatoes with mozzarella! I could eat just that, in a large enough quantity, for my dinner. Love it.

Lola said...

Talk about greenhouse effect! What a clever way to outdo soil and weed problems. How about hydroponics?

Ahhh, la caprese. I bought fresh San Marzano tomatoes Saturday at a roadside farmer's stall, on our way back from the beach. I had them tonight for dinner with exactly that: fresh torn basil leaves and a 14-oz mozzarella di bufala. I'm still moaning...

Polly said...

Sounds great. And very pro! And again I started to wish I had a garden, all tomatoes I'll be getting this August will come in a plastic bag

Mary said...

Save me a chair... come August ...Ta!

Paul Costopoulos said...

? or 7 years back while driving through our Prairie provinces we were intrigued by acres and acres of dark things like what you have over your beds. Those ones were raised a few feet. We learned they covering ginseng beds. A very lucrative thing out there.
Two years ago my wife bought a tomato plant. It got green and tall but gave one puny tomato 9in early September. Seems it had not pollinated enough.
Good luck with your tomatoes and eat a few at our health.

Bogey said...

An interesting way to garden. I've never tried that. I wonder though, do you get an invasion of floppy eared critters who just so happen to love your greens? You descibe one of my favourite salads except I use Bocconcini with a drizzle of Olive Oil. Drool!

Reya Mellicker said...

There is nothing - NOTHING - like tomatoes straight off the vine. Oh man I love "real" tomatoes. Can't wait to watch as they grow and mature.

Yum!

Delwyn said...

Rosaria
how does the rain get through?
such little holes...
Obviously it works and I have seen the plastic running in strips here but we get a great amount of rain.
Happy Days

Gran said...

That tomato salad sounds yummy! Tomatoes are my favorite food.

GutsyWriter said...

That looks like a great way to get results. Do your tomatoes turn out really sweet? I love cherry tomatoes. I live in southern California where we don't have to worry about colder days.

ladyfi said...

Ah - red juicy tomatoes! Warm and sun-ripened. Is there anything more delicious?

Thanks for visiting.. I don't usually post croc pics - honest! ;-)

Tessa said...

Oh, lakeviewer, Happy, happiest late wishes Mother's Day! Your post for that special day is an absolute delight. I hope you don't mind if I copy it and send it on to my daughter who is fairly new to the highs and sometimes lows of motherhood!

Like me, you have a 'thing' for tomatoes I see! And what better way to conjure up the delights of a late summer harvest than to eat those beauties with lovely pungent basil and melt-in-the-mouth mozzarella. Especially good with a view of the oceans, methinks!

Man of Roma said...

I've never seen anything like that here. Wonder how it can work. You Mother's day post was moving also from a Dad's point of view. In all your pictures you show this deep connection with nature...the American North West and its vast coasts, the gardening and those Alaska winds hurling. Here in Italy we are hit by Bora from Siberia sometimes. It must have been hard to adapt to the climate, since you said you lived in California before.

Natalie said...

Hi Rosaria, I am drooling too! We have something similar on our garden. :D

Siobhán said...

I can taste those tomatoes already.

Did you always garden Rosaria, or is it something you took up in retirement?

lakeviewer said...

Thank you for visiting. Answering some questions you have:

1. I always gardened, even though in California we had terrible soil, clay, and hot, dry summers that singed everything. My gardening was limited to maintaining strips of landscape, and a small kitchen garden, usually a patio full of pots for herbs and tomatoes. Now, I have more land than I can cultivate; but, the choices are limited to herbaceous plants that do not need a lot of warmth. In the hottest time of the year our average day temperature is 70 F.

2. The professional looking cover allows water to soak in, and weeds to be suppressed. We use natural methods for controlling pests and weeds, such as rotation of crops and companion plantings. Before the poly cover is positioned, the ground has been enriched with compost, and mounded to create a better medium for the rooting to occurr. Birds are numerous. So, as soon as any fruit begins to ripen, it is covered by netting. Birds love berries.

3. Tomatoes will grow next to the house, on the deck, enjoying more wind protection and sun, in containers draped with black poly. We have had rain lately, with cold nights. Tomatoes will have to wait indoors for a bit longer.

4. In Oregon we have major interests in training people to use natural methods for agriculture. Our many rivers and streams are host to a variety of fish, such as trout, bass, perch, salmon and a variety of fowl and other wildlife. If we didn't all do our part, our rivers, lakes and streams would be contaminated. We have limited logging in old forests, maintaining open and accessible navigation and recreation on streams and oceans, and have imposed recycling laws before any other state. Ranchers cannot divide and sell their property to developers unless the entire county has studied the environmental impact of such growth. Most of Oregon is Green, literally and politically.

p.s. My daughter and her husband moved to Oregon after we did; within a couple of years,they have become vegetarians, bike everywhere, and buy their food from a community farm, not a supermarket. When they go out to dinner, they choose a place based on where the restaurant gets their provisions.

Lulu LaBonne said...

I adore tomatoes but never bothered growing them in the UK because of our weather. Suddenly in France I have perfect conditions, sowed some seeds and ... they have grown.. never has my flabber been more gasted - or so delighted

Viva Tomatoes!!

Renee said...

Rosaria I love you for many reasons.

I love you for saying this 'This battle is not for the faint and weak; this battle is for heroes of unmeasurable size. '

Of course it is not me, but I love you for saying it.

Love Renee xoxo

Mervat said...

This looks like so much organisation and planning ahead. But, you will certianly reep the rewards. I can't wait to see pics of your crop, especially the tomatoes. Peas sound wonderful too.

My children love fresh peas and I always have to buy twice as much to account for what goes in their mouths before it goes into the cooking pot!

La Belette Rouge said...

Basil, tomato, buffalo mozzarella, olive oil and salt. Oooh, or, brushcetta or Gaspacho or tomato sandwiches. Your garden post has made me hungry.

TheWritersPorch said...

Rosaria...it just amazes me how we all have to do things so different depending on where we live! You obviously have it down pat though.

Carl Sandburg lived at "Connemara"
in Flat Rock, NC from 1942 till his death in 1967. His funeral was held a very short distance away this home, at St. John In The Wilderness Church. Connemara is now a National Historical Site.
I will do a post on it and the church this week.
~ Carol ~

Mervat said...

I have nominated you for a lovely blog award on
www.thewritinginstinct.blogspot.com

Kikit said...

Rosaria: educator, writer, philosopher, loyal commenter, and tomato grower. :)

I bet your daughter and her hubby would like to help you harvest the tomatoes. :)

Frankofile said...

Gardening - in my case a triumph of hope over experience! Best wishes with yours.

Sarah Laurence said...

That sounds like a lovely mother's day gift for yourself. Happy MD!

willow said...

There is nothing like the taste of a luscious home grown tomato! I miss my vegetable garden.

Rob-bear said...

First, belated "Happy Mothers Day." Loved the poem.

Interesting style of gardening. Is that a kind of landscapers' cloth you're using?

I recall being in Israel some years ago, where they planted things in rows and covered with with plastic spread on hoops -- like mini-greenhouses. Seemed to be effective in trapping water.

Mothers' Day is too early for tomatoes on our part of Canada. We had snow again last night.

Renee said...

My senses today Rosaria.

Hands killing me so touch is out.

Nose plugged up so smell is out.

Ears don't have hearing aids in yet so hearing is out.

Sight glasses are on so sight is in.

Loving you is in and won't go out.

Love Renee xoxo

Dave King said...

Interesting method. I'll mention it to Doreen - slight adaptation might save a lot of watercan activity later on.

Daisy said...

Hi there, thanks so much for popping into my place- I love the look of your garden, there's nothing better than home grown tomatoes. I hope they'll be snug under that cover!

An English Shepherd said...

Looks very neat, I like any vegetables...

Wizz :-)

The Things We Carried said...

I lived in California as a kid. I miss sun grown tomatoes, and always love the seasons we get hot enough to get some YUMMY ones. I have not tried your tricks, but might just do it next year!

Ribbon said...

Yum... nothing like a home grown tomatoe!

best wishes
Ribbon

Beth said...

One of my favorite food combinations in the world - tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil!

Funny how different the south is compared to your area. We already have tomatoes on some of our plants. They are green still but within a week or two they'll be ready to pick. Now if only we can keep the darn birds and squirrels away.

Woman in a Window said...

That salad sounds just about perfect. ummm. Ours aren't ready 'til September, when the chill is nipping at their delicate bottoms.

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