This picture is from last year. Bean Sprout in the Tomato Forest. I grew six tomato plants in containers last summer, set atop wheeled platforms so we could chase the sunshine as it roved across the patio.
I got my tomatoes sometime in March, I think, and I had a couple of ripe cherry tomatoes by mid-June. I was so impressed with myself, I signed up to enter tomatoes in the 2006 Marin County Fair. (We had visited the agricultural exhibit last July — nary a ripe 'mater in the house.)
But then this year it rained and rained and rained. I decided not to plant tomatoes at all.
One reason was, of course, that they'd be going into dirt so late that I wouldn't be able to get all braggy at the fair.
Another reason was that growing tomatoes in a hot climate in the summer requires a lot of watering. I know you're supposed to "dry farm" your tomatoes, give them a little discipline... But in my patio last August, if those six plants didn't get a drink every day, they were dust... And this year, Cranky and I decided we'd like to be free for a little traveling with the poochster, possibly even in August.
So it started to look like I might not be a tomato ranchin' bum after all.
Until a week ago at the farmers' market. We were cruising for new herb plants to replace some tired, depleted ones we've been urging along for years (and I'll bet I'm the only person you've ever heard of who can accidentally kill a mint plant — I blame the weather, actually).
There it was. A healthy little plant, buds ready to pop into bloom. It's called "Patio Tomato," said the lovely young woman selling tender nursery babies. It's compact.
But only one plant this year.
And if we decide to travel, Cranky says he'll put the plant in the car and take it with us.