True love, and …

I do not denigrate my up bringing, but suffice it to say that I grew up with a distinct lack of appreciation for vegetables. When I married Joanna, however, that changed and now I do not think there is an available vegetable that I have not tried and very few that I do not enjoy. One, which was a relative late-comer to my list of favorites is the tomato. Joanna has always grown them in our garden and she has, over the years, canned tomato sauce and whole tomatoes, much to the delight of all who have partaken of them at our table. Early this summer the generous folks at Village Acres Farm, a CSA out of Mifflintown, brought us some heritage tomato plants in partial exchange for a pair of weanling lambs. Each and every one of the plants grew well in Joanna’s raised beds and they began baring about a month ago and continue to do so, prolifically. If you had told me, thirty years ago, that one of my many pleasures would be to walk through the garden, casually pluck a cherry tomato from the vine and pop it into my mouth, I would have observed that you were nuts. But this is now true. We had a good bit of rain last night and things remained soggy at chores time. We are penning the turkeys in the garden this year, among a small number of fruit trees. As I was feeding and watering these birds I couldn’t help but notice a blaze of orange in the corner of my eye. Surely these beauties were pretty enough to warrant the trip back to the house for the camera.


It is not my intention to provide an exhaustive review of Songs of the Garden so please forgive this offering of just three of my favorites which relate to vegetables and to gardening. The first has its significance in the image above. With thanks to Guy Clark for this classic contribution to the canon.

And, of course, there’s Joanna’s all-time favorite which she says, in all seriousness, was (and remains) formative for her. Even this evening as I played it, she teared up … a wee bit. Forever thanks to Pete Seeger for this tranditional, and most beloved, favorite.

And finally a wink and a nod to John Prine and that Spanish Pipedream we all habor, deep inside.

13 thoughts on “True love, and …

  1. Tomatoes have been my favorite vegetable ever since. We also grow heirloom varieties and I like the small, sweet ones in particular. This year we tried to grow them from seeds collected last year but our crop is very poor so far compared to last year’s (when we bought the small plants from an organization whose mission is to spread those ancient heritage varieties). Since we are making some changes to the solar collector now that served as an espalier last year the tomatoes grow/should have grown in a different place that they are obviously not that happy with.

    • Hmm … I wonder why the seed collected from the heirloom varieties didn’t do well? Are you saying that you didn’t grow them on the collector this year? If so, perhaps they liked the warmth provided by it? D

      • Two many parameters have been changed in this experiment – not following lab best practices. Probably planting them out too early or perhaps it has been too dry in the new site (near a tree with aggressively-growing roots), or some other difference in the soil, or some difference in light availability. The only thing I can rule out is the variety – we used the same 13 varieties as last year and all of the plants are smaller, and the fruits that should be big are hardly larger than the small ones on the small varieties. Next year they can use the collector again. During the day the collector should cool them as heat is extracted from the air … except in some rare instances when we use the collector for cooling. If it still rather cool during the night the collector pump is turned on to allow for cooling the water tank, in this case heat is transferred from the brine to the ambient. Somebody told me tomatoes grow during the night – so probably that heating during the night gave them a boost. But the collector is operating in this special mode not often – only a few days last year, but even if it is not turned on it should radiate some energy! I think despite our many sensors I will not have a chance to confirm that conspiracy theory 🙂

        • Yup … not a properly controlled experiment. I would guess that temperature had little to do with the poor performances this year. Did you say that you grew seeds purchased from a supplier last year and few from your own harvested seed this year? If so … I would guess either (1) seed quality, or (2) soil nutrients. If you plant in the place you grew this year (away from the collectors), I’d add fertilizer to the soil! Ah well … such is farming … some years are good while others are not-so-good. D

    • Hey there Charlie … for some reason this comment got identified as Spam! Just dragged it out this morning. I was just a bit surprised that more folks didn’t respond positively to, especially, Seeger. Perhaps members of this blogging generation are a bit younger than you and I. As mentioned in the post … the Garden Song nearly always bring tears to Joanna’s eyes. And to me, it represents, a way-of-living … one which we have aspired to model. Have a great day, and thanks as always for checking in. D

  2. I love those home grown tomaters, but if I didn’t then Guy would convince me to try them.

    I saw purplesnitch’s question about drying seeds. From what I understand that’s getting to be risky business with corporate seeds. Fortunately that is not the case, I hope, with heirlooms.

  3. Had never heard the first or third garden songs. Too funny. Bruce was in the same room when I was listening and wanted to know what it was! He has been teaching himself to play the guitar. I agree with Joanna, Seeger’s contribution has a wonderful message not to mention a catchy tune! Your image could be on a packet of seeds. Seriously. Real beauties. Will you dry some seeds for next year?

    • No … we won’t harvest seeds … too much of a gamble. There are so many sources for plant sets in our area that we always rely on those instead of starting from seed ourselves.

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