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Friday, August 24, 2007

Ritual of The Tiniest Tomato

Is there going to be a prize this year for the tiniest tomato that is still a full-grown ripe, ready to eat tomato?

If there is, I declare myself to be the grand champion, blue ribbon winner.

Would you like to know the secret to growing such a tiny tomato?

You just pick a cherry tomato variety that sounds like it is going to be really small and grow it in a year that hasn't been very good for growing tomatoes.

Way back in January, when I had big aspirations of growing the tiniest tomato, I picked "Jelly Bean Grape" as the one type of cherry tomato to grow in my garden. It just sounded like it would be small.

And they are small tomatoes. They are literally the size of jelly beans. If I had a jelly bean right now, I would photograph it next to one of these tomatoes so you can see for yourself, but I don't, so I used a nickel instead.

What would Thomas Jefferson who loved his vegetable garden, think about such a tiny tomato? What would my Dad, who took pride in his early tomatoes and the size of his tomato plants overall, think about it?

They'd both think not too much of it, and neither do I. It doesn't taste all that great and the skin is a little thick for such a tiny tomato.

Fortunately for me, the rabbits chewed off three of the four "Jelly Bean Grape" seedlings almost as soon as I planted them. This forced me to go to the garden center and buy some replacement cherry tomatoes, including a yellow cherry tomato and the old stand by "Sweet 100", so I did end up with some decent cherry tomatoes to eat, after all. (Yes, it was hard to admit that the rabbits, in their own way, actually did me a favor eating the original tomato seedlings. I'm still not welcoming them into the garden to do "plant selection" every year.)

By the way, most of my tomatoes haven't done very well in the heat and drought this year. They either end up decidedly under-sized or they split open before I can pick them. I do get some regular tomatoes every few days, but they are nothing to write home about or blog about.

But when life hands you lemons, you make lemonade, right? So, when the garden hands you tiny tomatoes, you start a tiny tomato ritual!

Therefore in place of the Ritual of the First Tomato, I present...

The Ritual of the Tiniest Tomato.

Since it is such a tiny tomato, I've scaled back the ritual considerably. There is no book to record the event in, no special utensils or plates, no taste tests. The ritual is just to find the smallest, tiniest, ripe tomato, perch it on the "tomato throne", take its pictures and then post its picture on this simple garden blog.

Ritual complete. I've put the tomato throne away until next year, when order will hopefully be restored in my tomato world and I'll once again have a really nice, big red tomato to sit upon it.

12 comments:

Curtis said...

It certainly hasn't been a good year for Tomatoes. Wet and then dry for us.

Dirty Knees said...

Sadly, the tomatoes in my garden aren't doing well either here in Central Ontario. We had warm -- very warm -- days, but cool nights, not to mention NO RAIN!

Layanee said...

How about a prize for the fewest tomatoes? I'm not bragging about that but hoping for sympathy. Just wait until next year...That is the gardener's refrain isn't it? Hope eternal!

chuck b. said...

My entry: http://coldcalculation.blogspot.com/2007/08/tiniest-tomato.html

Kylee said...

I'm dying laughing here!!! That picture of that teardrop of a tomato on the satin pillow is PRECIOUS!! LOLOLOLOL!!

Bad for tomatoes here, too. My 'Mr. Stripey' hasn't produced much and what it has, has split on the vine. Why do they do that? Romie says they taste good, though. (I don't like raw tomatoes.)

'Sungold' was underwhelming in production this year. Last year, we had oodles. I have to say overall, this was a very poor year for just about all veggies and fruits except for green beans. It was a bumper year for those!

LostRoses said...

Carol, I'm trying to figure out how you came up with a satin pillow for the tomato throne. Oh, I bet I know - it's what the gardener in the old-fashioned dress uses for a kneeler when she's done mowing and wants to plant her prize-winning tomatoes!

Christopher C. NC said...

I am not allowed near the tomotoes because I smoke, Tobacco Mosaic Virus. They do let me eat them after they have been brought inside which is nice.

This is a challenge though and I may have to touch the tomatoes if I find a really tiny one. The resident gardener says this years is the saddest vegetable garden ever.

Me said...

I knew I should have photographed that itty-bitty one. I guess I had better go look at my plants. ;)

Entangled said...

Just when I finally grow some nice-sized tomatoes, y'all are raving about tiny ones. Figures. ;-)

At long last, we got some rain (good), but now the tomatoes are cracking and rotting (bad). So I have a good quantity of tasty usable (but not pretty) tomatoes but, alas, no tiny perfect ones.

Carol said...

Curtis... my problem was dry then hot!

Dirty Knees... I think your weather was closer to mine, so I can sympathize.

Layanee... Yes, the rallying cry for us gardeners is "Next Year"!

Chuck B.... Your kind of competitive, huh? I looked at your tiny tomato and it is impressively small... but, see my next post.

Kylee... Don't forget the squash... it was a bumper crop year for squash, at least around here.

LostRoses... I don't know where the idea of the satin pillow came from, but your explanation is probably as good as any. After all, she is mowing the lawn in a white dress. Did I mention that I can't remember the last time I wore a dress?

Christopher C. NC... It has been a sad year for many vegetables, but obviously not for the tiniest tomato! It rules the garden.

Me... Yes, go look and take a magnifying glass, as it is going to take a really tiny one to win the prize!

Entangled... I'm not hearing about anyone having a good tomato year. We just have to celebrate about whatever we get from the garden!

Thanks all for the comments and for having some fun with me about tiny tomatoes.

Carol at May Dreams Gardens

Kerri said...

You've got me laughing Carol :) Your royal treatment of "Tiny Tom" is creative and quirky :) Great sense of humor.
Alas, I can't join in the competition. My smallest tomato is rather large compared to yours. I planted "Juliet" grapes. They're quite good, but not as sweet as those little round cherries.
My larger toms are slow to ripen.
I've only picked 5 so far...and the slugs have feasted on several that they beat me to.
We've had enough rain in recent weeks to produce an all around excellent array of veggies. Last year, with so much rain, our veggie garden produced very little....not even zucchini...if you can imagine that!

farmingfriends said...

What a fabulous post. I love the throne you have.
I have just found a tiny ripe tomato in my garden in the UK. It is the size of the new 5p which is smaller than 1p and possibly the nickel. I have posted a picture on my website and I hope you don't mind but I have linked to this post to show where the inspiration for the tiniest tomato came from.
I enjoy reading your website.
Sara from farmingfriends