A story like this one, of virgin births . . .are based largely in faith and are wholly unexplainable.
Well, I have a bit of my own immaculate conception story to share with you, in the hopes that you too will pass it on, learn something from it . . .or simply enjoy it for what it is, and it is all about tomatoes.
To start, I have well documented in this blog my struggles to grow tomatoes in my own backyard. It is even mentioned in my "About" section. No matter what black magic I apply to the process of growing them, I still have not been truly successful at it, at least not at the house we are currently living in.
How do I define tomato success? Over-run with them, more tomatoes than one could possibly know what to do with . . a plethora, an overflow, a land-slide or an avalanche of tomatoes.
Of course, there are those who have told me that it was the crazy weather these last few years that have prevented everyone from having truly amazing tomato crops. I thank them all for trying to make me feel better about my failure.
I came as close to success as I ever have this last summer with the help of two of my made for TV products the Topsy Turvy Tomato Planter and the self watering Aqua Globes. But even with all of that modern technology at my finger tips, I only grew a handful of tomatoes that took forever to actually ripen and they were all on the dinky side.
I am not expecting perfection. I know to learn to grow great tomatoes takes time. I can be patient. I do know that the perfect looking tomatoes are not always the most flavorful ones. Especially, now that the snow is on the ground, and I am forced back to the grocery store to buy the few tomatoes I need to get me through the winter . . .trust me, I am reminded of it. Eating tasteless tomatoes only strengthens my resolve to try, try again next year.
This plant was grew huge and it just kept producing incredible tasting tomatoes all summer long.
In fact, it was not uncommon for me to come out and join my family for a swim, only to find everyone huddled around the tomato bush eating the juicy sweet goodness, warmed by the sun, straight from the plant. They were that sweet and that good.
But they were tiny . . .which meant my dreams of a beautiful tomato stack salad with a steak cooked on the grill, quickly went out the window.
So, it was with sadness and resolve, that I finally took down my Topsy Turvy bags after the last little tomato was harvested. I gathered them up in my arms to take them to my garage for storage through the long winter, more determined than ever to not only get back on that horse next summer, but to ride it. . . .hard.
As I take the last flight of stairs down toward the back side of my garage, past the trash cans and the dog's yard . . .I stop . . . with arms full of equipment that only points to my utter failure in growing lovely tomatoes, and spy a little green vine. My eyes cannot believe it. My mind cannot comprehend it, but it is a tomato plant. It was not only growing, but thriving, among the rock and brick pile that has collected next to the garage . . .apparently, all by itself. A clear case of immaculate tomato conception, if you will.
I made my way into the garage to unload the tomato growing gear, my mind reeling with how that plant got there, and then head back out for a closer look. I must have walked past it at least a hundred times this summer returning trash cans to their rightful spot or letting the dog out, but I never noticed it. I certainly never watered it or staked it upright. It was growing bigger the longer I stood there staring at it in disbelief. It had bright green, healthy branches that spread out in all directions. It look well cared for, and as I lifted it up, it had fruit on it's vines . . .in October. They were a shiny bright green color, but there was a lot of them hanging off the vines.
I went inside to grab my camera, some bread ties and to call my family to witness the miracle of the prettiest tomato plant I NEVER grew. Eatie took one look at it and said, "Well, it must have been an animal, like a squirrel, who ate one of your other tomatoes and . . well, relieved himself back here. From that humble beginning, your most perfect tomato plant grew."
A plausible story, but I knew better. To me, it had to be immaculate conception made by none other than Mother Nature. Here I was, every year, busting myself trying everything I could think of to grow the most perfect tomato plant, and low and behold on the sunny side of my garage, Mother Nature decides to show me how it's really done. It was a miracle.
What this lesson taught me was this . . .Mother Nature always knows the places and conditions her babies will grow best in, we just have to trust her instincts.
So next year, I am tossing my Topsy Turvy planters and simply planting a few tomato plants out in the rock and brick pile on the sunny side of the garage.
Don't mess with Mother Nature . . .she knows the reason for every season.