In the spirit of honest journalism and responsible blog reportage, I must hereby confess that the Arabella's Garden Great Tomato Scientific Research Project of 2009 went sadly awry. In actual point of fact -- and let it be acknowledged in all to fairness to moi that it happened as a byproduct of my own Noble Service to the Larger Musical Community of Bend -- the whole tomato situation got completely out of control this year. In short: the tomatoes ran totally amok. There was a veritable jungle of tomato vines spurting here and shooting there and sprawling everywhere, in various locations around the garden.
One bed in particular, built by me in early June, and composed of what Bendites euphemistically call 'soil' but which is really just good old native volcanic sand, became so clogged with Sungold cherry tomato vines, intertwined with raspberry canes, that I couldn't get through it all summer long. It started out like this (June). Don't we all look perky, in our new gardening hat?
A few days later, I managed to get the small, innocent-looking tomato plants installed. In a further spurt of optimism, I planted 3 varieties of bush beans (marked in this photo with poker chips) in and around and in front of the (so small, so proper, so ..... tidy) tomato plants, envisioning a bonus crop in the high heat days of summer ....... visions of my favorite salad danced in my head: fresh beans, tomatoes and basil from the garden, with a dash of lemon juice and a slurp of Spanish olive oil .....
And then, before I knew it, 6 weeks had passed, one piano monster concert, a piano festival, 2 chamber music classes and a state piano teachers' conference had transpired, and the beans had grown up and become overwhelmed by a tomato jungle, of which I apparently only took this single picture -- which sadly, doesn't begin to do the green monster justice, but it will have to do:
The tomato jungle is part of the general green chaos behind the trellis in this photo. The culprit raspberry vines loom on the left side of this photo.
Then of course we had the Christmas in October surprise, giving the still-ripening tomatoes and peppers something to think about:
That brings us right up to our return to normal fall weather: warm, sunny days, cool nights, and plenty of good gardening exploits to be accomplished. Dutifully (and uncharacteristically for me) I have been pulling up blackened tomato vines and doing other fall activities in an unusually timely manner. Every couple of days I find a new stash of still-good green and ripening tomatoes, sheltering among the dead stems and leaves. And, a couple of days ago I girded up my loins, grabbed my weeder, scissors and trash bucket, and approached the perilous raspberry/tomato vine impasse corner. I whacked, I snipped, I gathered. Many things were revealed under the tomato vines, including pitiful remains of long-smothered bean plants, a few large weeds, and ................. this!
I haven't grown turnips in, oh, probably at least 10 years. So how did this seed survive all these years? Gardening is so full of surprises!