Sunday, July 11, 2010

she will feed you tomatoes and radio wires

i’ve been dreaming about tomatoes lately. it started three nights ago when i woke up in the morning to see snow covering the garden. i was upset at first, until i saw that the snow magically made some tomatoes ripen. there were five giant, pink tomatoes that i could tell were ripe because they rattled inside. i ate two of them immediately.

the next night i was staying in a trailer in some dismal southern town. somehow i’d brought all my tomato plants there with me. i was taking a shower when suddenly a huge rainstorm hit--the muddy ground was shifting under the trailer and the road outside had turned into a river, with cars and trucks swept away in the current. i took shelter somewhere and when i came back most of the tomato plants were broken in half, but they were also full of ripe fruit.

then last night i’m almost certain i was dreaming about tomatoes when a storm woke me up--a serious, not-fucking-around electrical storm happening right on top of us, with lightning as blindingly bright as a camera flash going off inches from my eyes and earthquake thunder instantly following each strike. i felt certain that one of those lightning bolts was going to hit the house or one of the trees, so i got pretty nervous. andy was flipping out, of course. i dosed him with some homeopathic anti-anxiety meds and enveloped him in cuddles while he shook like a little leaf. we sat on the floor of the kitchen for a long time--the storm lasted an hour at least. when i went back to bed, a little delirious, i wondered if that storm meant i’d have ripe tomatoes, like in my dreams.

this morning i had to get up early, which was not easy after such a weird night’s sleep. i checked for ripe tomatoes first thing but found none. this afternoon i gave in to exhaustion and fell back to sleep, dreamt that i woke up the morning after the storm and ran outside to check for ripe tomatoes, didn’t find any at first but then spotted a plant heavy with odd-shaped orange tomatoes. they looked like upside-down bell peppers.

still nothing in the real world, though. i’m expecting some white currant tomatoes to turn any day now. feeling kind of dumb for not planting any early varieties--i think the earliest was 75 days from transplant, most of them around 85-100. i picked varieties based almost entirely on what looked cool, not what would be most practical, which is a trap i fall into often in year i need to remember to plant some earlies. i lost my patience the other day and tried to eat a green tomato--it tasted so very foul.

these white currants are bigger than i expected. on the three plants that are producing right now there are already hundreds and hundreds of these babies--i can’t wait to dehydrate them to make tomato raisins.

after months of nothing, my prickly caterpillar plants exploded with these little yellow flowers that seemed to come out of nowhere.

and today i saw caterpillars starting to form.

garbanzos are flowering now too.

the one and only blue lake bush bean has a couple dozen flowers, so i’ll at least get a taste.

royal burgundy bush beans are turning a pretty shade of purple.

golden zucchini is going nuts.

some of the exotic stuff i planted has come up, including the winged peas (above), swiss chard, sorrel and black cumin. i read that sorrel likes shade, so i might try to plant some in the death-corner where i killed all those sunflowers and peas.

i took down all the peas from the main bed, gleaning a few remaining morsels as i went. three rattlesnake pole peas i had planted around them are already up and growing, so now i think i’ll fill in the rest of the space with more and hope they mature kinda fast.

katherine gave me a bunch of seeds at the beginning of spring, and a few of them were random, unmarked, total mystery seeds that she’d collected and forgotten what they were. one of them looked a bit like a golden raisin. it surprised me by sending up dozens and dozens of tiny seedlings when i thought it was just one seed.

i separated as many of the delicate seedlings as i could and re-potted them. i got a glimpse of the actual seeds, which were tiny, cream-colored discs that looked almost like eggplant seeds. as the seedlings developed they also looked a lot like eggplants, but i knew they couldn’t be because of the raisin-like seed pod.

then the other day i was staring at the largest of these plants, and “ground cherry” popped into my head. i have no experience with ground cherries, i’ve never seen one or eaten one, but it was the first decent possibility i’d come up with so i searched online for whatever info i could find on them. it looked like a likely match, so i texted katherine to see if that could be the answer, and she’s certain it is.
i’m so happy that’s what they are--the plants are beautiful, and so velvety soft, and the flowers and fruits will be beautiful too. i have three healthy plants, so assuming they make it to maturity there should be a decent harvest. maybe i can even make some of these vegan yum yum cupcake pies.


Andrea said...

Your garden is a real "dream." It looks like it's really taking off. The caterpillar plant is crazy — looks like an actual caterpillar. I've never seen one before.

I usually plant one standard early tomato like Early Girl because I know I'll be anxious to eat tomatoes early in the summer, but the rest are usually chosen because they're cool heirlooms.

TheGirlisAlright said...

Your blog makes me want to have a garden. A friend and I made a pact that whichever one of us gets a house first we have to have a garden and plant stuff. Like elephant ears, and avocados and tomato plants!

Emily said...

andrea--isn't that caterpillar the weirdest thing? i'm curious to see what they'll taste like.

a standard early tomato is a great idea...i'm thinking of trying stupice next year. early girl is a hybrid owned by seminis (a monsanto company), and i'd like to banish all hybrids from my garden next year (or at least the monsanto ones), no matter how tempting some of them are...

thegirlisalright--avocados would be so fun to grow! i can't grow them here (except sad little ones indoors), but my aunt who lives in australia has numerous avocado trees in her garden that produce like mad. i'm so jealous.

no need to wait for a house though, you could grow an indoor garden...there are tons of solutions for indoor/small space/apartment gardening, whole books and websites devoted to it.

Country Mouse said...

Amazing dreams!