Mar 29, 2009

Seed Greed Aftermath -- Phase One

One measly day's seed sowing and my new high-intensity light garden is full to overflowing. This is only the earliest stuff: tomatoes, peppers, artichokes (just kidding) (no, not kidding, I really planted artichoke seed). Not only that, I have more tomatoes and peppers coming in the mail.
Every year I say to myself, "I Will Be Strong. I will acknowledge that I live in a climate that does not cherish tomatoes, peppers, melons or corn. I will plan and plant accordingly. I will content myself with just a very few short-season varieties that reliably (most years) produce a few small, not-very-tasty, ripe-ish fruits on sensibly small plants that can be covered in a frost-imminent situation. I will keep excellent records of when said plants bloom and ripen (if they ripen at all), and in future years, refrain from planting those that do not make the grade." and so on.
Tragically, I never listen to myself. Each winter I approach my box of leftover seed packets and my stack of seed catalogs with undiminished optimism, lust for adventure and that convenient amnesia . After all, this is the banana belt. of Bend.
I blame this year's lack of self-restraint on the internet, where, over the winter, I read with interest about other people out there in gardening land who grow way more tomatoes than I do. The fact that one of them grows 60+ varieties of heirloom tomatoes for the Greenmarket in NYC (on a farm in, let's admit it here, Pennsylvania, a place known for having actual summers) and another grows over 100 varieties in his backyard just for the fun of it (in, ok, Southern California, where it's always summer) makes me feel not merely unsheepish about my planned 18 varieties, but like a bit of a tomato slacker.
Besides, this could be counted as research. Yeah, that's it. Research. It's Important Research for our local area. If I were even slightly better organized and consistent, I might gain actual, written-down, useful information on which varieties (if any) do best in Central Oregon, instead of the minimalist seat-of-the-pants mental list I keep in my brain after 35 years. Why don't I admit it? Early Girl is as bullet-proof as it gets around here. Plant a Sungold cherry and call it good.
But no. This year I will make notes. I will tabulate. I will score. I will taste and weigh and count. And then I will write my first book: Too Many Tomatoes -- Gardening Insanity in a Cold Climate and go on to win a Pulitzer Prize for best short fiction of a gardening kind.


  1. You and me both. 40 yrs in Central Oregon -- and I still haven't given up on growing heirloom tomatoes this year. I'm right there with you Li'l Ned!

  2. Tomatoes are worth going crazy for! You never know...

    Do artichokes grow from seeds? I thought they were some kind of alien lifeform that sprouts from pods. They are delicious even if they are some sort of pod entity!

  3. Well, they are are actually the unopened flowers of giant thistle plants. Eat your weedies!