Thursday, February 2, 2012

Best One-Day Harvest in a Long Time

Judging from the pictures that have been popping up in my in-box, I'm not the only one who's having a good year. I tell you, aside from that cold snap a few weeks ago, this season has been sprinkled with some kind of magic dust. The weather has been perfect, the pests have been well in hand, and even the diseases haven't been too bad.

Yesterday, my six-year-old and I went out after school and we had the best one-day harvest I've had in a long time. We've been getting fruit every day now for a while, and there is still tons and tons more left on the vine, but this was just yesterday:

It's hard to see, because I didn't include a ruler for scale, but those big ones are all in the 1.5 lb. range. Also, the Kellogg's Breakfast (orange) have started to come in, and the Paul Robesons (dusky, upper left corner) are beginning to bear more heavily. The star of the day, though, were the Brandyboys. This plant is a champion performer, with beautiful and huge tomatoes. True, they aren't as tasty as the Brandywine, but it's hard to argue with piles of gorgeous fruit.

Before I sign off, though, a word ... I've been a bit slower to respond to emails these last few weeks, and my posting schedule has been thrown off. I've been sitting on a tremendous guest post from a pepper-grower who has all kinds of good advice about growing peppers (something I clearly haven't mastered yet). And I've got some truly eye-popping harvest pictures from fellow growers. Also, I've been collecting questions for a Q&A post—those are always nice.

But ... these last few weeks have been a karmic disaster around here, and it's gummed up the works. I started wondering last week if we had somehow pissed off the Big Guy Upstairs. In these last few weeks, we had a new pet kitten die, our family room flooded with two inches of water thanks to a faulty washing machine, my wife got in a car wreck that caused $8,000 in damage to her car, and our house was broken into and we were relieved of most of our electronics and jewelry. They even took a jar of quarters I'd been saving for 15 years, the bastards. This helps explain in part why I stopped posting photos for a while. No camera.

I tell you, I'm thankful first of all that everyone near and dear has remained healthy throughout (except that poor week-old orphaned kitten we tried to nurse). No one was hurt in the car accident, and thankfully no one was home when they broke into our house. Our misfortunes have been of the purely material kind (again, except for the kitten, who we named Lucky but turned out not to have luck on her side after all). And I'm thankful too that these are temporary misfortunes: we are still gainfully employed, etc. I would never presume to rank this rough patch with the more serious misfortunes that lurk out there—I am lucky, and I know it.

That said, the garden has been a bright spot in my winter. It's true, what they say about the restorative effect of growing things. It's been nice to go outside and see something working right. And I confess: part of me has wondered. To get into our house, the thieves had to walk past my tomato patch. And I wonder if they noticed the vines laden with enormous, lovely fruit, and if somewhere in their fuzzy, criminal brains, they didn't stop for one second to think, "Wow. Those are nice tomatoes."

Probably not. But it's still a nice thought.