by Roger Thomas

This content is part of a series.

The Greenhouse Effect (3 of 8)
Season of the Family
Roger Thomas
Proverbs 3:1-6; 22:6
May 25, 2003

Tomaytoes or Tomahtoes—however, you say ‘em, I love ‘em. I love to eat tomatoes. In fact, when I was a kid, I can remember taking several tomatoes from the garden, sitting down under tree and eating them one right after the other. With a little salt or pepper, there's nothing as good as a nice, juicy, ripe tomato.

I like tomatoes about any way—fresh, cooked, fried and green, sauced, sliced, and stewed. I like tomato ketchup and tomato salsa. Tomato juice is terrific. Tomato casserole can be good. Tomato pie isn't bad. Tomato cake is acceptable. But, let me tell you from experience—you can forget the tomato ice cream! Yes, tomato ice cream does exist. I have made it and tried it, but I don't recommend it.

I have always loved growing tomatoes. In fact, that's the centerpiece of my annual garden. I grew up on a farm, so the spring ritual of digging and planting is in my blood. I generally plant a salad—radishes, lettuce, spinach, cucumber, onion, peppers, zucchini, carrots, and maybe one or two other items. But even if I don't put anything else in the ground, I always plant tomatoes.

A few years ago, knowing my fascination with tomatoes, my son-in-law gave me the plans for what the gardening magazine called "a tomato factory." It was a special growing arrangement guaranteed to produce hundreds of tomatoes from six plants. It involved arranging the plants in a circle around a deep compost pit composed of manure, fertilizer, grass clippings, fish emulsion and a few other tomato nutrients. An additional fertilizer mixture was placed under each tomato plant. The plans called for a watering trench outside the tomato plant circle to which more fertilizer and water were added on a regular basis.

The goal that year was not only to grow a bumper crop of delicious red fruit (or is it a vegetable?), but to prepare a complete meal of ...

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