First Harvest

A necklace of bright red beads lies strewn on my plate, though some of the beads seem to have come unstrung.   They are polished-looking beads, these, with skin that glows with the shine of youth.

I plucked my first tomato harvest the other day.  A few days later, they still sit on my countertop, and I wonder how I shall ever bear to cut them up and boil them.

The cherry tomatoes are a different issue, though. Many of them never even made it to the photo shoot. They were gobbled up en route, and biting into them was a pleasure as they burst with flavor. It’s hard enough to keep myself from picking them with one hand while I water the plant with another. What really stops me is that I find it disquieting to pluck tomatoes while watering them.

As I see it, there are two different modes – the nurturer-waterer mode and the plunderer-picker mode. I cannot do both simultaneously. As it is, I do feel quite guilty about plucking the tomatoes the plant is so carefully growing.

tomatoes

I will not get the extraordinary harvest I once feared.  I never got around to creating a vegetable bed for the tomatoes, and could not even repot most of them in bigger containers.  In fact,  while they were growing from seedlings (in April and May), I spent the time traveling.  So practically all of them remain in 1 gallon containers which are clearly too small for them.  Half of them did not even make it outdoors – they remain in the basement, turning towards the glass doors which provide them with all the light they need.  Even better, I only need to water the indoor tomatoes once every 2 or 3 days.

And yet they don’t seem to mind exactly.  The fruit will be slightly smaller, I think (though most of the fruit is still growing) – perhaps roma tomato size or a bit larger, and maybe I will get less tomatoes per plant, but the good news is, I will be able to use all my crop.  I don’t have to beg friends to cart them away (which is good, because everyone I know seems to be growing tomatoes this year) and I don’t have to consider canning them, or any such thing.

The cherry tomatoes, meanwhile, are great to snack on.  As I write this, I have reached out four times and finished off five of those beads.   I think I will stop here.

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24 thoughts on “First Harvest

  1. ah ! Thats so alluring indeed. And i am so envious of you to be able to grow what we eat !

    maybe our city folks will come to respect what they eat more, when they have to grow it too.

    • It is really tough if you have an apartment. I don’t know that growing your own vegetables makes you better in any way. But the vegetables are tastier 🙂

    • This one, right? As if I wasn’t feeling virtuous enough already, he had to go and point out to me that I had grown my tomatoes from seed, as against those poor benighted growers who used starter plants (and got the blight) 😉

  2. Good job! You really made my mouth water with that photograph! Hope you don’t have to seek therapy to reconcile the clashing impulses in your personality!

    • I am finding that the best therapy is to eat lots of cherry tomatoes – when they melt in my mouth, any residual guilt I may have at plucking them quickly disappears 😉

  3. Very nice 🙂 I love fresh tomato vine from the garden. I was planning for tomatoes this summer. Alas, couldn’t avoid the traveling. Perhaps, next summer? Enjoy your fruit of labor or love 🙂

  4. Lekhni: Well-done! I cannot even let them stay uneaten long enough to be photographed. 🙂 From my meagre 6 plants, I am harvesting 6-10 tomatoes a week now. And a few dozen are still hanging on there and green. But the broad beans are a riot. They grow like topsy and taste great. More adventure next year.

    • That’s wonderful. I am really glad my tomato plants will not give me 10 tomatoes a week. Planting them in the ground seems to really boost the stem width and the harvest. But I think I’ll plant mine in containers next year too, except maybe in larger, 5 gallon ones.

  5. Half of the cherry tomatoes I pluck never make it to the kitchen either. Ditto with sugar snap peas. It’s so much fun to eat freshly-picked tomatoes, bursting with taste and flavor. Literally. 🙂
    Those aspiring to grow tomatoes, a small note that you don’t need a garden or a plot – planting tomatoes in a container and placing it in sunlight (balcony, porch) works as well.

    • Literally bursting is right – some of my cherry tomatoes did burst as they ripened (even the ones ripening on my countertop) and developed a long crack 🙂

      • I didn’t finish it (I was half-way through and couldn’t renew as someone else had placed a hold on it), and it tends to go a bit overboard in terms of self-importance of growing one’s own food, but other than that minor negative, I found it quite interesting, amusing and informative. And given that our societies have become increasingly cut off from the source of food and our ignorance about farmers and their lives is immense, from that perspective, it’s an excellent book and tells a lot about the struggles and challenges the farmers go through on a day-to-day basis, and how the food industry works. Someone who hasn’t read other similar books (Omnivore’s Dilemma et al) will likely find it useful, and people like you who have started growing vegetables will probably relate to her experiences. She describes how the entire family gets together to can or freeze food, and it reminded me of my parents during the summertime, making ketchup, chutney, murabba, achaar etc. at home in huge quantities, or my grandmother and others slicing a large batch of potatoes and drying them in the sun to be used throughout the year.

  6. I didn’t finish it (I was half-way through and couldn’t renew as someone else had placed a hold on it), and it tends to go a bit overboard in terms of self-importance of growing one’s own food, but other than that minor negative, I found it quite interesting, amusing and informative. And given that our societies have become increasingly cut off from the source of food and our ignorance about farmers and their lives is immense, from that perspective, it’s an excellent book and tells a lot about the struggles and challenges the farmers go through on a day-to-day basis, and how the food industry works. Someone who hasn’t read other similar books (Omnivore’s Dilemma et al) will likely find it useful, and people like you who have started growing vegetables will probably relate to her experiences. She describes how the entire family gets together to can or freeze food, and it reminded me of my parents during the summertime, making ketchup, chutney, murabba, achaar etc. at home in huge quantities, or my grandmother and others slicing a large batch of potatoes and drying them in the sun to be used throughout the year.

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