Friday, June 25, 2010

The World's Most Expensive Tomatoes

I have delusions of grand tomatoes. Really, growing tomatoes in Salt Lake was easy, even with the bottom rot and the blight, the arid climate, the clay soil. There, I had a sea of grass to combat. I followed a composting regiment I read about from the Salt Lake Tribune. Using the Salt Lake Tribune, I covered a plot of grass with newspaper, topped the newspaper with peat moss, added a layer of compost and topped with top soil. You could plant directly into the layers and the grass would eventually die. I'm not sure it was easier than rototilling up the grass but the hummus the layers made was lush. The tomatoes were happy, red and plentiful. Although the peat moss was expensive, the plants produced a lot of tomatoes to compensate for the cost. I'd say $1/tomato, which is better than the grocery store and they taste infinitely better than the grocery store.
Here, it's tougher. Instead of clay, we have volcanic rock in the soil. It's warm and sunny enough in the day but it drops to almost freezing at night. And, in my fence-less neighborhood, we have deer. The neighbor's spray fake cougar piss on their plants to keep the deer from eating them alive. Essentially, I bought today some deer food. Not only tomatoes but basil, rosemary, sage, tarragon, and them. Delicious deer foods.
So I planted the tomatoes ($4.99 each for really big already plants--I do realize it's almost July) in pots ($14.98 each just for plastic!), and bought 1.5 cubic feet of garden potting soil ($4.97) to fill the pots. If I get a lot of tomatoes, this will be worth it, if I get ten tomatoes, which I expect, I will pay about $4 each. But I've paid that much at the Farmer's Market before. I put the pots on the deck though in order to keep the deer away. This might just invite them up which, if the deck collapses due to heavy-deer mass, that will make the tomatoes ridiculously expensive and then, even more delicious.
I still need to buy tomato cages. Perhaps that will keep the tomato-eying deer at bay.


Sandy said...

Growing tomatoes in Flagstaff:

1. We do it every year, and Darin just put them in, so we are late too (you can't really put them in before June 15th, the last freeze date).

2. You can get a lot more than 10, and they are amazingly yummy, but they won't be as big as what you're used to.

3. Expect a late harvest (our big harvest is usually in September). Also, harvest all of your green ones after the first freeze and bring them inside. Some will ripen, but fried green tomatoes are AMAZING.

Nik said...

I do love green tomatoes. In Oregon, green tomatoes were more likely than red ones. Millions of them.
Thank you for these encouragements. I will keep you apprised!

Lisa B. said...

I too will be interested to hear about your tomato growing project. I realize I never think of it in terms of how much the tomatoes cost . . . I think of it as another kind of shopping (shopping for plants), and also perhaps as a hobby that I'm pretty crappy at. But I have high hopes for this year's tomato/pepper/bean growing project! with a side of basil!

HereWeGoAJen said...

My mother called me today to report that deer had jumped the fence into her garden and eaten half of it. She chased them away personally.

Nik said...

Hey Jen,
It's good to know that even if I had a fence, this could be a futile project. Tell your mom I feel for her and for her tomatoes.

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