Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Most Expensive Tomato Ever

We bought a house last fall.  I spent the whole winter looking forward to my first real garden in years.  I planned what I was going to plant.  I drew pictures of how I would lay it out.  I ordered seeds.  When it was warm enough I started bugging my husband to build the frames for my two raised garden beds.  Then we filled the beds with dirt.  Since it was still pretty chilly most of the time I only planted carrots.  The books all say that carrots can grow in February.  I was so happy when about a month later I saw the little 1/4 inch tall carrot plants.  Then another month went by and they were about 1/2 inch tall.  Now it's been four months and my struggling little carrots are about four inches tall now.  I pulled on today to see what the carrot part looked like.  It's there.  It's about 1/8 of an inch long but it does look like a carrot.  Maybe in another four or five months there will actually be carrots big enough to eat.

I started seeds indoors, but most of them did not grow right or at all.  When it got warm enough I planted these tiny plants in the garden beds.  They didn't look like they were going to do well so I went out and bought some plants.  Then I ordered some more plants online.  I put in 25 strawberry plants that said they would bear in June.  I was so pleased when I saw the first blossoms on the 18 plants that survived the first week.  Pretty soon there were tiny little green strawberries replacing the blossoms.  Then there was nothing.  Something had eaten all of the tiny little green berries.  About the same time I started seeing blossoms on the tomato plants.  Now these were all Amish heirloom plants that I had ordered because I knew they would be so hardy.  The tomatoes have all be growing very well.  One day I saw a beautiful green tomato on the Amish Paste Tomato plant.  I watched it every day.  One day it was starting to turn red.  I thought it needed a couple more days before it would be ready to pick.  The next day I went to check on it.  It was gone.  There would be others I told myself.  I had a dozen or so tiny little cherry tomatoes.  Some of them had a bit of yellow on them.  Some even started to have red streaks.  I watched as they slowly ripened so I could pick them.  One by one, just as they were about ready to pick, they disappeared.  Yesterday I found one little cherry tomato that was red and ready to pick.  I brought it in the house and washed it.  One quick chomp and it was gone.  But oh it tasted so good.  I grew that tomato.

So let's see now, I spend $50 to 60 for wood to build the frames.  Then we spent $120 for the dirt to fill the frames.  I spent about $35 on seeds that I ordered and another $20 for the little trays to plant the seeds in.  The plants that I ordered online came to about $60.00.  Then there was the $45 I spent at the plant store.  Add in all the time that my son and spent working in the garden.  Wow, how do you account for that.  And the water we used to water the garden during this drought. 

I still have some herbs that I will be able to pick and dry for the winter.  Not basil though.  The basil just does not seem to want to grow.  And the basil plants that I bought disappeared the day after I planted them.  Neither does the lettuce.  Now that is something I thought would grow anywhere.   I have a nice size bean plant but no beans on it.  My green peppers look exactly the same as they did the day I planted them.  Well, except for the holes that have been nibbled in the leaves. 

I think my garden this year is pretty much gonna be a bust.  This fall I will fertilize the soil well before winter comes.  Maybe that will help for next year.  I'm also going to invest in some marigolds and other plants to deter animal next year.  Oh well, such is my experience as a first year gardener.

So let's add it up:
Wood for the frames:   $60.00
Dirt to fill the frames:  $120.00
Seeds, and plants:          $160.00
1 tiny cherry tomato:     PRICELESS


  1. As much fun as it can be to potter around in the dirt, it's no fun having critters steal all the produce, is it?

    Better luck with the herbs and next year's garden!

  2. I feel your pain! I have a huge peach tree taller than my house and I'm lucky to get just a couple of peaches each year make it to maturity without getting swiped by the squirrels. This is crazy - next year I'm getting serious about keeping those squirrels away! I bet your learning experience with tomatoes this year will help you next year!