Off The Grid

Living off the Grid on a west coast island

tomatoes is shared between the two

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Last year I planted 25 tomato plants and the bounty was enormous. Before I came here, I had never really grown them and I was eager to try every single type. I almost did!

This year I planted them in the lower half of the garden and only (only?) planted 18. All were from seedlings from my two genius neighbours A and LCD. They know oh so much more about growing vegetables than I will ever know. I was grateful for the baby plants and tried to do my best for them…

Three errors in where I planted them. First of all, I planted them too close together. Who would have imagined that they would grow to be 7 feet high and 3 feet wide. Each!!! Second of all I planted them right beside where I grew potatoes last year. Although there is no sign of any kind of infected blight on the plants, I do feel it probably hurt the yield. Third problem.. too close to the fence. Those sweet adorable dewy-eyed deer pulled them through the fencing and down owl lane… Rascals!!!

Most of the plants were of the smaller varieties.. Roma and sugar snack…   even though the yield is great for the plant… they are small when it comes time for canning.. but canning I am.. I have made put up quite a few jars now of sauce and I will probably  get 6 or 7 more if we get some sun till the end of the month. It is a sweet tasting sauce and will make for yummy dinners this winter… It is hard to remember the time when I didn’t like tomatoes but like my daughter now, I could not stand them when I was young…

Tomatoes were my main source of income when I was ten. My best friend would go to her cabin for a month every summer and her Dad would hire me to water his tomatoes daily while they were gone.. He taught me to never let water touch the leaves and to give the roots a good solid deep soaking every second day rather than a light water every day. I think he paid me 5.00 for the month…  That works out to about 33 cents an hour (not including travel time up the street to their house) it was not a bad wage when your only expenses are chocolate bars at 5 cents. Mr. Mac’s tomatoes were quite safe under my care and each tomato he left me was still hanging strong on the vine when he returned. There was no risk that I would eat one before it’s time.. I hated tomatoes and I hated the smell of them… yuck… just reminded me of canned Campbell’s tomato soup and yuck.. I was sick to death of it before I was 6…  But then I turned eighteen and my  relationship with tomatoes took a dramatic  (I might be embellishing here).. a dramatic turn.                   .

The summer of 1975 my Mom and I went to visit her friend Evelyn in Ontario and somehow I was allowed to stay on and spend the summer with her.                               She has is an amazing woman with an amazing cottage on the river just outside of Kingston.

      Moira , Crow River, Ontario 1980 

On the weekend we would drive up to the cottage and swim in the river and generally laze about.. It was at the cottage that I had my first beef steak tomato picked ripe of the vine… oh my God.. it was delicious!!!… we would put a dab of mayonnaise, some salt and pepper on them and eat them like apples..  So sweet and delicious…. glorious…. That was it.. I realized the crap poured out of the can into my soup bowl had no relationship at all to the sweetness of a tomato off the vine….

Next summer, I have decided to give up on growing any other vegetables in garden, but the tomatoes. To hell with the carrots and beets. The voles got them all anyways. I think I will just focus on what I love.. Plant lots and lots of them and space them far apart away from the fence and the potato patch…

When I am up in the garden picking these beauties I often think of Mr. Mack and Ev and give them props and a grateful thanks. For my love of

tomatoes is shared between the two.                                                 IMG_0855 (2)

I don’t have a picture of Mr. Mac but here is my Mom and Ev.

Author: Off Grid Islanders

We are a retired couple living on an off grid island on the West Coast

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