A couple weeks ago, Terwilliger Plaza had a signup for tomato plants. The Plaza gardener, who gave me that great interview a while back on English ivy, does all the work -- planting, watering, fertilizing -- and individual Plaza residents get to enjoy the result, picking fresh tomatoes off their "own" plant on the roof for a mere $8 fee.
I missed the signup. To tell the truth, I wasn't all that excited about the possibility. There are people who are revivified by getting their hands in dirt. I am not one. I believe we have discussed in the past my geek nature, which kind of counteracts any tendency toward earth mother-tude. And plants know it. I believe I once managed to kill a cactus through either neglect or over-attentiveness, I don't know which, this is really not my thing.
But a couple days ago someone told me that the gardener had actually planted more tomatoes than he had sponsors for. And I thought about it again. There they were, orphan tomato plants sitting up there in Tomato Alley with no one to care whether they produced anything or not. A clipboard opposite the elevator door on the roof lists the unclaimed tomato pots -- #141 through #145.
Stepping out onto the sunlit roof, I found them. Most pots around them have both numbers and names on their labels. These have only numbers. In each pot is a little hard plastic label telling the name of the planted variety and describing its characteristics -- how fast it grows, how long it keeps producing tomatoes, how big the tomatoes are and what they will taste like. The one I chose, a perky, vivacious little plant, is a momotaro tomato, described as a good slicing tomato; according to a seed catalog, "...its flavor is an intricate and harmonious combination of sweet and tangy". Momotaro, I discovered through Wikipedia, is a figure out of Japanese folklore, a child who floated down the river inside a giant peach, to be discovered by a lonely and childless couple who raised him as their own. He later heroically conquered a tribe of demons, brought back their treasure with his talking animal friends, and he and his family lived happily ever after.
So Pot #141 is now Pot #141 Taussig, my diet will be vastly improved by the addition of fresh produce all summer, and I get the rewards of gardening without actually having to, you know, garden. Here's what I can expect in a few weeks.
Anybody know how many tomatoes one plant can produce? Am I going to end up like all the zucchini growers begging friends, associates, and total strangers to PLEASE take some home?