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.