Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Vine That Ate Troy Avenue

(Click on any photo to view a larger image.)

View from the front of the garden
No, you're not looking at a scene from an agricultural horror flick. What you're seeing is a monster tomato plant that has all but consumed my ancient azalea bush and is using it as its own personal trellis. This vine spontaneously sprang up in the middle of my garden of its own accord. Had I intentionally planted it, I would have placed it in a container. I thought about pulling it up but then I got lazy and decided to leave it and allow it to take its course. OH MY, I got a whole lot  more than I bargained for. Turns out that this tomato was an indeterminate variety. That means that it is a sprawling vine that keeps on growing and growing and growing until weather or other conditions kill it off. Some of those tentacles are over eight feet long!! If I had known that when I saw that cute little plant spring out of the ground, I might have yanked it out without any mercy but I'm actually glad I didn't. Turns out that:

View from the back of the garden

Indeterminate Tomato Varieties Have Better Tomato Flavor*

“Determinate” and “indeterminate” are terms used to describe a tomato variety’s growth habit — but many gardeners don’t realize these categories relate to flavor, too. Most determinate tomato plants have fewer leaves per fruit than their sprawling indeterminate cousins. These compact determinate plants have the advantage of growing better in containers and producing all of their harvest at once, which makes them great for processing. But, don’t expect them to be as flavorful as the vining indeterminate varieties that have more leaves to convert sunlight into sugars and, thus, develop more intense, complex flavors (*Source).
The fruits of my labor

Who knew? Not me, but I can tell you this. Those little tomatoes, pictured here, are delicious. My son pops them in his mouth and eats them like candy. I've used them in salads, in stews, made tomato sauce with them and they are great. Best I've ever grown, really, and I never would have known this had I ripped it out of the ground. And it's still producing in October! I have dozens of green tomatoes on the vine waiting to ripen. 

Basil, Lettuce seeds, and more
These days I've been harvesting as much as I can because the days are shorter and the weather is cooler. Here you'll see a picture of Italian basil, red lettuce seed heads, some tiny potatoes that were hiding from me last time and a green pepper. Those leaves are going to be dehydrated, those seeds will be separated out from the heads for next year, and those potatoes and pepper are destined for my cooking pot. BONUS: the cooler weather benefits cilantro which has begun to grow in my garden now from seeds that dropped from the spring crop. More tasty herbs on the horizon. The cycle begins again.

This year's growing season is winding down but I'm still reaping the benefits and planning next year's garden. I'm smiling just at the thought of it.


Ballo ergo sum - Gitana, the Creative Diva

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