Friday, 15 August 2008

Tomatoes and Olympics

After losing a tree last fall, and cutting down its dead partner tree, we thought there would be a lot more sun on the back deck. We were in fact a little worried about the amount of sun turning the backyard into a heat sink.

We decided to try planting in containers, which until now, seemed impossible with all the shade. I planted beans, carrots, peas, cucumbers, lettuce, radishes and tomatoes. The radishes were a total bust, and I am losing hope of getting any cukes at all. The peas and beans are doing well, and we should be eating some this weekend. The lettuce is OK, and there are carrots below the carrot tops. But our grandest success is tomatoes.It is entirely possible that no one else in the world would consider these a grand success, but here at the Needles, our gardening standards are a lot lower. There are 4 tomatoes on the regular tomato plant, pictured last, whose name I have forgotten, but it most likely is a variant of Early Girl.

The other is a grape tomato, whose name I will never know. If you look closely, you can see that one of them is thinking about turning. It has a mildy yellow cast to it. Right there, is success on the vine, even if, to the worlds jaded eyes, this is a small success.

With the Olympics on right now, I have been thinking a lot about the nature and value of success, and the nature and value of winning. Those big successes are wonderful and I'm certain that in the grand world scheme, they are important. Humans have placed value on competing and winning since the dawn of human prehistory.

But I think I like little victories more. I like the victory in a wee ones face when he first pulls himself up against the sofa. I like the victory in a child's voice when he realizes that he has read an entire chapter book. I like the victory you feel when you jump out of your regular scope of activity and try something that you only dreamed about doing. I like the success I feel when I learn a new stitch properly, or when a project is complete.

I'm very pleased with my small tomato success. In fact, I have felt like a successful tomato grower since the plants decided to live and grow, despite my less than green thumb.

I'll never be an Olympian athlete (or any kind of athlete). I'll never be an Olympian tomato grower. What I will be is successful.

My world. My kind of success.


Anonymous said...

With that tomato succes I suggest next year you consider buying a large greenhouse started and pampered plant in large container. I bought one this year and put it in my also quite shady back yard. I've been eating fresh tomatoes for a few weeks now. Overall, the plant has produced 15-20 good sized, very delicious tomatoes (don't know the variety). Next year, I'll work a little harder on better fertilizing to see if I can get even better production. Enjoy your tomatoes as they come along. GD

karen said...

award yourself an honorary gold medal. Growing tomatoes is a MAJOR achievement, I can't even grow weeds.

yellojkt said...

Great looking tomatoes. Remember that you have to send a bag to TBG for official judging.