This Week’s Creature Feature – Tomatoes R Us


This is the true story about all of us who unwittingly, faithfully and dutifully went to our garden centers and bought tomato plants in mid-April. In this region, we’re cautioned not to plant before May 1. That was then. This is now, 2010, after the coldest, snowiest winter on record.

Warm weather swept through our area in early May and upended that theory; holes were dug, plants submerged, things happened. Best-looking tomato plants I’ve ever seen. Thanks in part to the Bay Gardener, Dr. Francis Gouin, who advised last year how to fend off disease in a garden planted annually with tomatoes: Cover the garden in late winter/early spring with clear plastic and bake the soil to kill offending insects and potential disease.

Far ahead of schedule, this summer’s bumper crop of tomatoes is shocking the system. To neighbors who tended and watered plants over past vacations, I say, That’s okay. I’ve watched amazed as the Amazon plants grew over early summer, unassisted. Heirloom, Beefsteaks, Plum, Sun Gold and the quick-out-of-the-gate-favorite, Early Girl.

To all the avocados waiting for a flush of red, ripe fruit: Bring it on.

Fried green tomatoes: I’m there.

Neighbors poaching? No worries.

Salsa. Spaghetti sauce, I’m all over that this summer. Hello tomato.