I’ve been stalking my tomato plants. I have four of them. A classic red big boy, and heirloom pineapple variety and two whose flimsy plastic labels flew out of the garden at some point. I have no idea what they are. It’s the closest I can relate to being pregnant without knowing the sex of the baby.
In any case, my tomato gestational period seems to be taking forever. For weeks now, there have been green tomatoes hanging from the vines that weave themselves up through their metal cages. I know we are just getting into tomato harvesting season in the Twin Cities, but I’m ready to get this show on the road.
My patience isn’t helped by my co-worker Dave. His tomatoes are booming. He plants more than a dozen varieties in pots lined up on his deck. He, unlike me, knows them by name. He fertilizes them. He speaks to them encouragingly. He lovingly adjusts their vines. And he is rewarded with beautiful, ripe, juicy fruit. He is generous with his harvest, even early in the season, packing up baggies of tomatoes (and even throwing in a pepper or two) to hold me over until I finally see some some red, orange or yellow explode out of the solid green of my garden.
I, on the other hand, keep looking at my plants impatiently. Sending a clear message to those green, unripe, firm tomatoes: you are disappointing. You do not look like what I want. You are useless to me right now.
For some reason, my normally nurturing nature is not extending to my tomatoes.
As if to confirm that I am in need of an attitude adjustment, my tomatoes gave me a little bit of hope on Saturday. I spent about four hours weeding, watering, mulching and chopping down maple trees in my garden.
I’m not even kidding about that last part. Wedged between the raspberry bushes and the neighbor’s chain link fence, three infant maples with trunks the same diameter as a quarter, were flourishing. I felt like Meryl Streep trying to conquer the wilderness in the movie Africa.
I shot a dirty look at my tomato plants. And then I changed my tune. That tune was very loud, as I shouted to Jay over the deafening buzz of the weed wacker he was wielding on the other side of the yard.
“We’ve got a red one!!”
Finally. My impatient attitude turned to a deep sense of gratitude.
Now if I could only figure out what those other two plants are…