I wrote in an earlier post, “Does any day offer greater joy in the garden than that first day you go outside after the winter and plant the early spring vegetables?”
No one challenged me on that, but the answer is clearly, “Yes, there is another day that offers greater joy.”
That’s the day you harvest your first tomato of the season.
That’s a day of great joy in the garden for any gardener, and one that often involves a ritual of some kind.
Some gardeners will eat the first tomato right there in the garden, like an apple, while it is still warm from the sun. Others will take it inside and share it with their family, carefully slicing it so that everyone gets a taste.
Or maybe some gardeners will secretly eat the first ripe tomato and then offer the second one to their family as the first one, just so they can eat the whole first tomato by themselves. Totally justified, in my book, if that gardener did all the work.
Ritual or not, there ought to at least be a little ceremony, a pause in the day to reflect on it, when you harvest your first tomato.
This year, I’m growing the following tomato varieties:
'Beefmaster' (A good sized slicing tomato, should have slices big enough to cover a slice of toast for a good BLT.)
'Early Girl Improved' (I’m hoping this will give me a good shot at harvesting a tomato before July 19, my earliest recorded date to harvest a tomato).
'Mortgage Lifter' (If there is an online contest for the biggest tomato, I want to tip the scales in my favor to win it. Watch for a contest hosted here in mid-August or whenever I think I have a really big tomato that will win, even without my thumb on the scale.)
'Red Currant' (No way is Chigiy beating me if we have another contest for smallest tomato!)
'Sun Sugar' (I must have a cherry type tomato to snack on while I’m working in the garden).
'Better Boy' (Not sure why I got this one, seems kind of boring now, plus it takes 82 days to ripen for harvest!)
Wait, is that it? That’s all I’ve got? That’s not enough! I need more varieties than that! What was I thinking? What a boring list of tomatoes!
I’m going back to the seed catalogs to find just a few more varieties. There is still time, as I won’t start the tomatoes inside until early March, or about eight weeks before I plant them out in the garden, which will be in mid-May.
And I've got more to write about tomatoes... staking and caging, how deep to plant tomatoes, and why no vegetable garden should be without them. But I'll have post about all that another day. Right now, I must find some better tomato varieties to plant.