Our annual tomato contest ended on June 5 this year when I decided to pick my first two tomatoes. Over the next few days, the two challengers to my throne eventually admitted defeat.
Victory came a little later than last year's June 1 tomato, but after all the years of barely getting tomatoes in Canada in August, June 5 looks pretty good.
I first wrote about our tomato gardening in the spring of 2005 in a post called, The Spring Tomato Ritual.
Growing tomatoes is often thought of as something done mostly by aging southern women. I suspect that idea is kept alive by the media.
There are southern women who do grow tomatoes, but in my opinion most of the tomatoes are grown by the men of the South. That is the way it has been for as long as I can remember. The ladies might grow a few plants, but the men would often put in rows of tomatoes. My mother was a great gardener. Tomatoes were one of her favorite crops, and she would always plant four or five plants each year. My wife's father, however, planted row upon row of tomato plants. He often had them growing up the side of his house.
My mother continued growing wonderful tomatoes into her nineties, but I picked up most of my tomato skills trying to convince tomatoes to grow in the cool Nova Scotia and New Brunswick climates.
While I am now limited by space to four or five plants, they produce so many tomatoes that we are often searching for people who want tomatoes by early July. Our tomatoes do make a significant impact on our summer food budget. The return on investment on a few tomato plants is huge.
During the summer, a tomato sandwich is often lunch at our house. Sometimes it becomes a BLT, and often it ends up in salad. It is amazing how little work it takes to grow such a large number of tomatoes.
Now that our contest to see who got the first tomato is over. I can relax and enjoy the tomatoes, and plan my next year's victory. The next thing is to see if we can beat last year's giant tomato which weighed 1.33 pounds.