Saturday, 17 September 2011

Previously on 33...

...years of avoiding raw tomatoes...

Read me

"The following takes place between 12pm and 1pm..."

This will be my first venture in the garden since last Saturday. I'm scared and have no idea what I'll find. I'm picturing a snail orgy, rotten plants and general carnage. A trip to Cambridge, the start of the rowing season, leaving party for our work placement students, and work itself have all elbowed their way to the top of my diary leaving my garden at the mercy of others. So I approach the steps to the garden door with trepidation...

Right now, there is only one fruit on my mind. Toms. My namesake. My nemesis. I was given a tip by my workmate Jess on storing tomatoes, and I know it's time for me to bite the (allegedly juicy) bullet and harvest whether red or green...


Out here in the garden and it's a sorry sight. I planted cherry tomatoes and gardener's delight. The latter has gone for it, attacking the bay tree and courgettes in its bid for light domination. I've had to cut rotting vines and over enthusiastic creepers, complete with a mix of immature, rotten or munched fruits.

I now have my secateurs in hand, hacking away to clear most of the mayhem. It's a grim task, it's wet out and the pungent smell of tomato plant pervades my senses. Whenever you touch a tomato plant it releases its aroma. It's strong and instant. Right now I'm in the midst of an unwelcome fragrant cloud.


They're collected on a heap ready for the green waste bin. It's all I can face doing. It has grown far more vigorously than I ever expected, and this is despite no summer of any note. It's a bit sad actually, all that wasted potential.

But there is something upsetting me. I don't want to fail. Either in growing or facing my fear of this red beast. I can picture all those people who sneer when you say you don't like something, questioning your character, backbone, and judgment. I wanted to do this as my way of saying to myself, you have nothing to fear in this world. So any sense of relief I now have is actually being overpowered by a sense that I don't want to give up. The prize is too great. And as Jess' tomatoes ripened strung up indoors whilst she was away on holiday, then maybe these green ones will do too...


Oh crap.

Just as I hacked away to the core of the plants I can't believe how I didn't spot these. Small red tomatoes. There is genuinely no escape is there? I'm going to have to eat these. And prove that I have too.

How on earth did the tomatoes that had no sunshine whatsoever turn red?

It's 1pm. Lunchtime. I'm not sure I'm ready for this...


elaine rickett said...

Go on - be a man!

Carolyn said...

Hooray for the red tomatoes! Do it Tom - you could enter a whole new world of joy :)
Btw, I had some that broke off and they are ripening well on a sunny window ledge

The Hapless Kitchen Gardener

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I only feel hapless because some people make it look easy to grow 10 ft marrows or a banquet of greens whereas my courgettes got nabbed by killer slugs and I only got one raspberry. So tips and stories from people less hapless than I are more than welcome. As a disclaimer though, none of my comments should be taken as expert advice on which you can rely! © Unless stated otherwise, and with the exception of guest content where that guest retains copyright, all photos and posts are the copyright of Tom Carpen and may not be used without permission.