Thursday 30 May 2013

String 'em Up

    When I was a kid, my grandfather owned a large commercial greenhouse from which, he made his living growing tomatoes and lettuce.  One of my first means of employment was working in the greenhouse for 65 cents an hour.  I had to get up early, because most of the work was done before the Indiana heat set in and made the greenhouse to hot and unbearable.
    When the small tomato plants reached a certain height, one of the jobs I did was to tie the tomato plants up.  Lengths of twine were cut and draped over my shoulder and I would proceed down the long rows of tomatoes, bending over to tie a small loop around the plant then standing up to tie the other end to the overhead wires that ran the length of the greenhouse.  This twine supported the tomato plant and as it grew, we would have to wind the plant around the vertical twine.
    I must confess, I didn’t much like agricultural work as a child.  I walked through the rows of tomatoes, sweat dripping off of my forehead, being slapped in the face with tomato plant leaves, wishing it was quitting time so I could go home and play.  Now, as an adult, I find myself once again, out in the greenhouse, stringing up tomato plants, but knowing how good the tomatoes are going to taste, makes the job a whole lot less burdensome.
    I planted 7 different varieties of tomatoes.  I am really looking forward to tasting “Black from Tula”, which is a dark tomato, with an intense taste.  I also have a couple of varieties with Amerind names:  “Cherokee Chocolate” and “Sioux”.   For years, I have planted “Longkeepers”, whose tomatoes you can pick and just keep on the shelf for months, sometimes we’ve eaten them well into December.
    For big juicy tomatoes, I have “Better Boy”, and for smaller, but tasty early tomatoes, I have planted a variety called, “Matina”.  I also have cherry tomatoes called ”Sweet Baby Girl” planted right beside the greenhouse walkway, for snacking whenever we go in.
    Tomatoes are certainly one of my favorite vegetables, and summer would not be summer without them.  Now that I have all the tomatoes mulched and tied up, all I have to do is keep them watered and wait for the tomatoes.

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