Wednesday, November 7, 2012

I say tomato.

Around where I live almost everyone has a vegie garden. Some people grow loads of fruit and veg, enough to feed whole families. Some grow enough to eat and preserve for a lot of the season. While others grow little bits and pieces, enough to supplement their meals, or to add a little flavour.

I love living near a rural town. I love that the conversations down the street change according to the season. Early in the year we might have discussed ripening corn or what to do with all that zucchini, then apple harvests, then preserving, then broccoli recipes and now tomatoes.

When I popped into the fruit and veg shop today to deliver eggs, the friends I bumped into had dirt under their finger nails just like I did. We discussed the old local theory that it is safe to plant tomatoes out after Melbourne Cup Day (yesterday) and we chatted about varieties and quantities.

I planted hundreds of teeny-tiny seeds into seed trays of home made seed raising mix in the hot house a few months ago. Then as each seedling rose up out of the mix and grew four leaves, I transplanted it to its own little tube full of compost. Some times I planted straight into pots.

I adore this work. This fussing and pottering over my future tomatoes. The hot house is right next to our house so I can escape for a few minutes at a time and sometimes for hours. It's almost like meditation. Filling pots, pricking out seedlings, making a hole with a chopstick and then carefully replanting being careful to cover the roots and relabeling.

And then today, being the day after Melbourne cup day and a cool enough day to work in the poly-tunnel, we carried a whole lot of the tomato pots over to the poly tunnel, ran some irrigation lines down the sides, and set to planting, fertilising and then watering.

Miss Pepper worked along side me and was boss of the worms, collecting chicken feathers out of the straw and was chief water-inerer.

I guess at some stage soon I'll be brave enough to plant some of my babies outside too, but at the moment all I can think of is that year we had a frost at Christmas time. I'm thinking we might have to put up the other hot house soon.

I'm thinking I just love this time of year. Everything is green and bursting with growth and promise of a wonderful season.

What's it like in your town?
Are you discussing your tomatoes with everyone who stands still long enough to listen?
Do you have a Cup-Day type rule?
Are you loving your season?
Do you say tomaydo or tomarto?

Ciao chickens. x


  1. I say tomaydo and am loving the teenie tiny green grape bud tomatoes that have just appeared on my lone plant.

    We only have a little courtyard here but I have a few pots and love that my basil, oregano, lemon balm, garlic chives and mint are thriving.

    I can only imagine what it must be like to grow enough fruit and veg to feed my family.

    Loving post as always and hoping against hope we may cross paths next week x

  2. Hi there Kate, you are an incredibly interesting person! I'm sure your friends and contemporaries love bumping into you on your travels. You're just lovely.. : )

  3. I just say "pomodoro"!!!! ;oD
    happy day, xxx Alessandra

  4. I have just ripened the last of my tomatoes with a banana over here in chilly England. Looking at your plants makes me think of spring (not the cold, wet months to come) lovely to see Miss Pepper doing the important jobs!! Sarah

    1. i love that part of blog land.
      Watching one season ending as another begins.
      Happy soup months.

  5. Hi Kate, love you photos, as always you have captured the special moments perfectly. I bet your tomatoes will be delicious!

    I say tomarto and my first 'baby' tomato has just set. How different our climate's are? I have a big box of beer bottles washed and ready for passata day early next year, not that I am excited about it...

  6. I have 6 pots of tomatoes outside hardening off and growing big and strong waiting for their new garden bed to be ready, and 3 more toilet tubes of them just putting out their second leaves on the sunny windowsill. They have all germinated really easily for me, which is a blessing as I'm still learning all this vegie garden stuff!

    What varieties are you growing this year?

    We've got Amish Paste & Tigerella outside, and Tiny Tommy Berry mix inside waiting to be potted up for the deck. Nothing like a salad 2 steps from your back yard!

  7. I think I'm a Tomardo kind of girl. We have just put in vege patches down the back and have seedlings and seeds in there. I am excited that soon I will feed the family from our little garden and I am feeling a little Foxes Lane and rather proud of our efforts.
    I had too many bean seedlings last week and I popped a message on facebook and they were snapped up fast and in return was fresh brocolli and lettuce for my little family.
    (I have also had dirt under my finger nails lately and actually put nail polish on yesterday to cover it up to go to a function.

    (by the way, how do I get the little reply button at the bottom of my comments?)

  8. definitely tomarto here :D
    i'm hoping to get some real food growing here this year. i've just transplanted my tomatoes into some bigger pots and stretched some bird netting over a frame to go over my cherry tree, happy days!

  9. Tomarto here, and not 'til Melbourne Cup! Love those poly tunnels, do you soil block ala Eliott Coleman/Allsun Farm? I've just dipped my toe in and gotta say I'm loving it. Alison

  10. I am OBSESSED with my tomatoes , OBSESSED!!! I have more success with them than with any other vegie/fruit I plant.
    I live in Perth so I get mine in the ground around September. Two weeks ago 2 of the plants showed their first fruit. I instagrammed a pic of it & sent it to my hubby who works away. I was THAT excited !! Tomatoes are my most fave part of summer :)

  11. I adore your blog. Every single bit of it. xXx

  12. The people I used to work with were all crafters and gardeners, and I LOVED conversing with them about tom-artoes, and the fertilising benefits of broadbeans, and quilting. Sadly we all moved on and this new crew I work with are not only NOT crafty, and don't understand why I need to sew and crochet, but they barely garden! Only one girl does and we could talk organics all day (and often do). I miss the old days with the people who "got" me.

    But I run into friends and acquaintances at the farmers' market and the local shops here and we talk tom-artoes and cucumbers and lettuce gluts. Some of them craft too. These are my people.

    I think it's a great conversation to have. A friend (one of those I used to work with) and I had lunch last week and she was telling me all the fruit and veg she was growing on her farm. She said "am I boring you?" and I said "NOOOO keep talking!!"

    Love the photos Kate. If it wasn't raining right now I'd be up to my elbows in compost myself.

  13. I love "fussing" over new little plants too.
    I just planted out a few tomatoes - we have the oppostie problem up here, it can get too wet and humid for them... but this year they say it will be not so rainy, so I may get some good tomatoes.
    Your hot house looks enormous!
    Love the photos Kate (as always)

  14. Tomarto. I would love to have a garden, but stuff doesn't' really grow here. I have tried!! And its not really that common where I am, sadly.

  15. I say Tomarto...and I wish my mine would hurry up and show their fruits! I've got two different types on my balcony1

  16. I say Tomato !! and sigh i miss the farming coutry side i used to live in a town of about 20 in the town then sourrounding farms..we used to talk about CWA meetings,perserving,baking vegie growing etc and of course the black tiger snake! eek.
    now im living back in my orginal home town where the dirt is red and its hot .our yard front and back are in the works trying to cover up all that red dirt with something pretty and practical...i have my chooks and my ducks just need my fruit tress to prosper and put in the veg garden...but sadly no one here shares my enthusiasm their is no Cwa here anymore ,and hardly anyone here would love to get dirt under their fingernails.oh well the looks i get when i realise its school pick up and i have sewing thread on my clothes that look of omg she crafts.

  17. I have so much to learn about gardening. never had much luck raising anything from seed: from your post I now see that my tomato seeds planted in toilet rolls full of seed raising mix would have benefited from being undercover in this crazy Melbourne October of extreme weather. Love reading about your relationship with the seasons.

  18. I love the quietness of planting, it is so relaxing. It sounds like a lovely town to live in Kate, sadly ours is a little big so conversations are fewer and certainly not existent when it comes to gardening. I have quite a few tomato plants in the garden, cherry tomatoes which seem to do best and we all love going outside to pick them fresh. At the moment things are very dry in the garden, hoping that we get some rain soon to green things up.x

  19. Sigh! I love stopping by your place Kate and seeing what you guys up currently up to. I aspire to one day growing enough vegies to supplement our meals but first I have to learn to keep my seedlings alive...let me tell you it's no easy feat considering I am a complete novice. Blog posts like these give me much motivation to keep trying :)

  20. I want a poly tunnel! Will have to put it on the list. I braved a few tommy plants on SHOW DAY but just as an experiment. Still alive. Will be interesting to see how they fare against the ones going in this week. There was snow on the big hill 2 days ago but muggy and humid (and wet) now.
    We all talk weather and planting. I love it. My goal for this season is enough toms to preserve to last us the full year. Fingers crossed.

  21. Hi Kate, We plant tomatoes after Show Day here in Tassie which was just a couple of weeks ago. Bit slow-growing without a poly but we'll see what happens. It has snowed at Christmas here too! We've got Mama Mia, Mortgage Lifter, Green Zebra, and Tommy Toes. I say Tomarto but I'm half American so will say Tomaydo to my Mum to be a smartypants :-) Enjoy the rest of the week! Mel x

  22. Hey Kate:) Unfortunately on my streets we aren't speaking of tomatoes. Perhaps seed catalogs that arrive for us to start dreaming of next year's garden. It is Fall for us here in Virginia, so we are using up the rest of our squash and such. Kale is still happy in the garden in spite of at least 3 good, hard frosts.

    Here, we wait until after Mother's Day which is in the beginning of May, before we feel it is safe to plant our tomatoes. I love how both of us have a holiday we plant around. We aim to get our first tomatoe by July 4th, roughly 2 months from planting, but that is hit or miss:)

    Love the fact that while I am being able to enjoy cooler temps, changing leaves and the crispness of Fall here, I can read about the rebirth of gardens, re-emerging beauty in your surroundings and the excitement you and yours have about Spring:)

    Have a lovely day my friend.

  23. I say tomarto! Real Aussie.
    I've planted my first batch of tomatoes ever! Maybe a bit early but only by a week or so. They're looking great so far!
    I'm hoping to make some passata with mine. The kids are spag bol nuts so it will be great to have it all home grown!
    I love the look of new little seedlings sprouting up, full of hope and excitement for the future! Will you guys be having another passata making day this year? It looked amazing last year.
    Have fun and enjoy Kate!
    Rach x

  24. Neither - we say "tomaaat". And sadly, this year, the summer was too wet and cold for them to ripen properly. Ah well, I'll have forgotten this years tomato-disaster when the spring comes and will happly plant new seeds in March/April.

  25. My tomatoes are looking fantastic covered in fruit.... and full of fruit fly :( - I am about to rip them all out bar the cherry toms which can withstand the onslaught. This is when I long to be in a cooler climate!! It is so dry up here in SE Queensland I can't plant anything. Love your pics as always

  26. Here is another vote for dry old SE Queensland. Our cherry tomatoes are hanging in, and the pumpkin vines are doing ok, but the cucumber plants are growing very slowly. The mint is going crazy, though - about to rip it out of the garden bed and pot some up, because it is taking over!

  27. I say tomayto with a New York accent. LOL. I love reading your blog. I learn alot about Australia thru your blog. We are getting ready for winter here today it is snowing. I think it is too early for snow but Mother Nature does not think so. We just got hit with a Hurricane here I live in Staten Island, New York we got hit kinda hard. I never thought I would see a Hurricane here. My family is safe and well, but many here lost alot.

    1. I cannot believe you are dealing with snow so soon after that hurricane.
      Our hearts are with you guys. x

  28. Here in North East Vic, I've given up on 'Tomartos' - they just get smashed by Fruit Fly :( Contemplating trying cherry toms to see if they can handle the little buggers any better than the gorgeous heirloom varieties I tried a couple of years ago. And yes, Cup day rule seems to be entrenched 'round here too!

  29. I'm a bit lucky living up here in Sydney, where the last few days have been (gasp) humid. Our tomato plants have just started to fruit, and I'm glad to see that there are flowers on all of them.

  30. my tomatoes are going crazy! in five days, my four plants gave me 1kg of tomatoes. tomato soup and cheese toasties for dinner! yum!

  31. Where we are, most people don't garden at all really. Bust dave and I are always talking with excitement about what seeds were raising and what we will harvest next.

    xo em

  32. Our tomatoes are taking off and we have lots of green lovelies hanging from the vines. I've planted far too many close together but I always do that. I'm thinking tomato tarts and squished tomatoes and basil on bruschetta. I love this time of year too - just so long as it doesn't get too hot!

  33. Haha! You all look like you had fun with the tomatoes!

    The kids are braver than I am, I couldnt hold worms like that! No way haha

  34. definitely a tomarto girl here and i am obsessing over them and my whole vege garden at the moment!!! we put in a new vege garden on our new property this year and just loving the new space!
    tomatoes grow like weeds up here, but we have the dreaded queensland fruit fly to contend with which is always a stress worrying about controlling them... i am going to try fruit fly nets this year and crossing fingers they will actually work! having lost entire previous crops to fruit fly (and having to destroy the whole lot) is rather devastating!

  35. I planted my tomatoes weeks ago!!! ... but the chance of frost here in Perth is slim to none ;)

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