At the beginning of the summer, I wrote a post about my mystery plant. I wasn’t exactly sure what it was. It was supposed to be a tomato, but didn’t look like one. So I adopted two of them out and planted the other one myself.
All three found sunny summer homes. Mine grew into a monstrosity, despite being planted in a large pot on the back deck. The leaves gradually began to look more like a tomato plant, although they were super-sized. But it was the smell that told me it was indeed a tomato. That musty odour is unmistakable.
A. planted hers directly in the garden. It resented transplanting, she said, and sulked for a little while. All her hand-wringing and whispers of “Don’t die! Don’t die!” must have had a healing effect, though, since it grew up just fine.
L. took hers farther away to their summer cottage. I haven’t heard from her yet but I’m sure in southwestern Ontario it must have flourished.
As for mine, when it finally bore fruit, the tomatoes were big and light red (which is technically pink, I suppose, but it seemed more reddish to me). The first fruit was seedy and sweet and very juicy. When the second was ready to be eaten, however, a racoon beat me to it–I went out in the morning to discover that a critter had chewed half the tomato off, leaving it still attached to the vine. When the third tomato was ready, the same thing happened. But by the fourth tomato, I was much wiser and picked it just before it was ripe. That one was juicy and delicious, too, especially since I had outwitted that masket bandit.
And if I hadn’t gone away on a short vacation, leaving a neighbourhood boy to water the garden, there might have been more fruit. But when we returned from camping, the tomato looked funny. It was water-logged and so wet that I had to tip the pot over to let the water gush out! Drat. My plant didn’t die, mind you. It just didn’t grow any more tomatoes.
So the mystery is solved: those plants that I had such trouble growing and that didn’t look at all like tomatoes were from the heirloom seeds I had purchased: watermelon beefsteak. I am grateful that I had friends to help me sort that out but I can’t say I am going to grow that same variety next year. They were way too much work and way too popular with the raccoons.
There is something to be said for accumulated wisdom, and not repeating your mistakes over again. Gardening is teaching me about that.