Friday, September 17, 2010

Growing Home

Somewhere, manywheres, you can find a calculation for what it costs to grow your own tomatoes -- construction, trellis, soil, seed, water, labor. And yes, it’s something like $1 million.

Money well spent
Put a seed in the right ground, cross your fingers and wait for a miracle. Some years are more miraculous than others. This year the miracles wouldn't quit.

Everyone I know eats their first ten or twelve tomatoes right off the vine, bending low so all the juice falls on the ground.

Pretty soon my second bed

Will join my first.

It's a pleasure to tear out summer vines and make way for fall. Damn straight we’ve got seasons.

When you catch the fever, much of your yard looks like wasted space. So I’m double digging this

And raising that (this guy thinks he has a following; I promised he could be in one picture)

I won’t touch the pink Cinderella. Another month to go.

Today I was in a filthy mood, so I got in the dirt and played awhile.
A million bucks? I break even.


  1. verbs, shmerbs! I want to touch Cinderella...

    Albert knows when the blogging overtakes you - he can smell it, like a dog who detects cancer. Clever lad.

    Try budgeting for pickling cucumbers - go ahead, crunch the numbers - it'll drive you mad.

  2. Oh, Albert! He's growing on me.

    I put in about fifty dollars worth of water and twelve dollars worth of soil and two cents worth of work on my tomato this year. So far it hasn't paid off in ten cents worth of tomatoes.

  3. Albert! Albert! Albert! Oh, and lovely vege patches, too, KB.

    The notion of growing veges ap-peels, but the practical side of it hasn't grown on me yet. That said, it seems it might be in my blood and bones, so it's only a matter of thyme. {I'll apologise now and be done with it.}

  4. Karin,

    We have one side to the house sunny enough to try tomatoizing.

    The season lasts about 12 days, sporadically over the summer.

    It's raining now.

    (Did enjoy Pasadena earlier this month).


  5. I am in awe of your garden/gardening skills.

    Albert's looking good. How's the banana plant doing?

  6. A busload of Alabama squirrels are headed your way. I gave up on the cherry tomato scam a long time ago. The little F%#&^@* ate them before they turned red. Grrrrr.

    PS Smoochie smooch Sweet Al !

  7. Of course Albert has a following. I look forward to his appearances. I envy your prolific tomato crop. The heat, humidity and (I hate to admit it) occasional lack of attention just does in my tomato plants. Thank God for farmer's markets.

  8. I don't want to figure out what my 'maters are worth but the spuds are at 1.2 million.

  9. Congrats on the garden and thanks for stopping by my blog. I'm glad you enjoyed it and even more that it helped.

  10. P, did it look like a Charlie Brown tomato plant again this year? Sorry I couldn't bring more your way, but we're still in q.

    Earl, why? The $1 million?

    Shell, please don't get me started. I'll start saying things like, Let me give you sage advice, turnip your soil... And then before I know it, I've lost a whole day.

    T. Fool, did anyone ever tell you you're a wiseguy? I am going to adapt your "tomatoizing" for future use, however.

    Linda -- I'm potatoizing as we speak. Russian fingerlings, peruvian purples.

    Jean, about like the economy. hanging in there, but going nowhere fast.

    V, maybe you can teach Meep to chase squirrels.

    Bayside, yeah, but you can grow all the things I can't. Kiwis spring to mind. Sugar cane. I've had lots of failed experiments.

  11. I got a bunch from neighbors. And we do have the farmers' market. But yeah--a spindly thing that snaked up but not out, an bore no fruit.

    You'd be proud of me. I've been weeding and digging. Haven't planted much yet but I'm preparing.

    I'd compare it to talking about writing and not writing, but it's not that bad. It's more like jotting notes.

  12. You've described gardening perfectly:

    "Put a seed in the right ground, cross your fingers and wait for a miracle. Some years are more miraculous than others."

    There were no miracles for us this year. Our tomato crop was a disaster, the green beans were wretched, and no baby greens to speak of, but we've put in a winter crop and we'll try again. Why is that?

  13. Every summer I have tomatoes that come up from seed from last years tomato plants. Can't believe they survive our Okla. winters.

  14. I'm in the same mode, rooting up, digging, enriching soil and planning for fall.

    I love this part almost as much as the harvesting, I think. My tomato investment definitely paid off this year. The persimmon heirloom variety is the best tomato I've ever tasted - low-acid, meaty, so flavorful it's almost sweet.

    And the Early Girls, two of them planted in May, are still reliably producing a couple dozen 'maters a week. They should be called Workin' Girls!

    What are you putting in for fall?

  15. Perhaps this explains why Cam has to supplement the farm with returnable bottles

  16. Several different years I tried growing tomatoes...I'm not sure what didn't work well, but I'm inclined to say not enough sunlight throughout the for neglect...well, let's just say some years were better than others!!!

    We have delightful produce at our Wed afternoon Farmer's market...and I have to say, the Vons up here has wonderful produce as may have something to do with being the highest volume Vons in the state...nothing sits around so it's all very fresh!!! And as close to ripe as you can get in a big chain store!!!

  17. Too much of the service economy. We've gotta make stuff. Like tomatoes.

  18. Hi, Sophia. Really, the thoughts on learning were timely.

    I'm always proud of you, P. And fully convinced you'll catch the growing bug.

    Paula, because it's there. Even if it's not there yet.

    Christine, do you plant root vegs in winter?

    Karen, I thought no one would ever ask. Varietal garlic, from the garlic I grew last year, she said smugly. And elephant garlic, onions, fava beans, potatoes, Danver's carrots, lettuce (Tres fine endive, grandpa admire's lettuce, asian salad greens, micro greens), kale (from my own seed). And you? (want to swap some seeds?)

    PA, oh no, really?

    Chieftess, glad to hear it. You might want to try some root veg up there in the high country.

    Banjo, do you grow?

  19. Not only do you know the name of every plant at the Huntington Library, you grow unusual varieties from seed? I'm so impressed. Do you order them from a catalog, browsing through the lists for hours before reaching a decision? And when did you sow the seeds that you're now planting out?
    At the gentle mercy of plants? Not you.

  20. Plant some wheat and next year you can show us how to grind it with a rock and make your own pasta.


  21. Oh but my Meepsie can't go outside KB. I need Albert or Phoebe to come and stand guard. Meeps and I are busy snoozing on the sofa watching HGTV. :)

  22. Been in our place since '77-- BEST tomato crop EVER! Looking for new recipes every day! Ha!

  23. AH, unless you count words, I don't grow, but I cheer those who do. And I feed birds, which is REALLY hard work.

  24. I'm with Banjo - too much service economy. Not enough self service. Or whatever.
    Certainly found I was channeling you! What is in the soil these days?

    Albert is the best poser.

  25. I wish! They're bigger than she is!

  26. I feel like such a city girl when the talk turns to tomato crops. I love the *idea* of growing my own food, but the animals in the house take up all my time and energy to have any left for growing veggies. One day maybe.

    Albert's looking good.

  27. Yesterday, we had some salsa that a friend made with four different types of tomatoes grown in their garden....yum!

  28. Albert took a nose dive in the pretty straw bed today and ate all the goat shit fertizer and bat guano. Guess who is sleeping outside. Until winter.

  29. Isn't that his idea of a paycheck, as the CEA I mean? (He's so adorable.)

  30. I can't help it, it's more than a feeling:

    More Than A Feeling

    And I know they meant to say Albert Man instead of Mary Ann.

  31. Awwww... Paula, you just made my night.

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  33. See that lab diving in the lake? That was Albert hitting the straw bed filled with goat shit.

  34. The first time I met Albert he was all about the poo. At least he's consistent.

  35. Sometimes Blogger won't let me comment: it tells me your service is unavailable! Your friend there will have quite a following if you let him appear too often, because he looks so inquisitive!

    You remember the stinkin' deer eating all of my tomato plants? Well, I cheated and bought some that were half grown, and now I have green tomatoes in the garden. We'll see if it gets too cold before they turn red.

  36. My 7th grader is taking farming as her elective at her new school. Don't you love it?

  37. I haven't decided what to do yet. But greens are always in my plans, and I like the idea of potatoes. I did those years ago but haven't repeated since.

    I would love to swap seeds but I am not a seed-collector. I admit to buying most of my veggies as seedlings from San Gabriel Nursery! I'm sure I could do better if I did the heirloom seeds, though.