Goodbye Tomatoes

[I realize that this Blog has a Detroit focus for metropolitan subjects, but as this is October-Sweeps Month, and I’m out in Wyandotte on a Sunday, what the heck…]

Today I decided it was time to get rid of the jungle that’s been growing in my backyard. Cherry tomato plants, 15 of them (10 more than I really should have planted in the space provided) entwined around their supporting posts with vines as thick as pinky fingers. Why so many? I like walking barefoot in the morning, through the dewy grass, plucking a few sweet grape-sized orbs off my veritable thicket of tomato pride. But I digress, the demolition of my own amazon jungle begins with the tools.


My friend, Don, is an avid collector of all things sharp. No, he doesn’t subscribe to “Knife Fancy” or “Razor’s Edge” magazine (do those exist?) but he does own three machetes. Now you really must ask yourself, if you know someone who owns even one machete — in Detroit — shouldn’t you be running a criminal history check? Don’s a trustworthy fella, his machetes are from his military days stationed in Panama when he had poisonous snakes slithering across his shoes. Sadly, a machete swing doesn’t really do the job – I needed the Felco #7 rotating pruners… this is nothing more than a fancy name for heavy-duty scissors, but I feel more “professional” when I’m not utilizing mere household tools.

Snip Snip Snip… the vines are pulling free from the mass, as I place the heaps in an empty kiddie pool.which is quickly turning into a representation of a green Cousin IT. My fingers pluck red cherry tomatoes, the last of the harvest, from the branches – and tossed into a nearby colander. Snip Snip Snip… I’m cutting through the jute twine fastened to my Rube Goldberg array of tomato plant supports: wooden stakes, broom handles, and ski poles (Yes, ski poles – why not?). A grasshopper – perched on the edge of the planting box -displaced from his home – watches me angrily (I imagine).

Crunch crunch crunch — beneath my birkenstocked feet, crunch crunch crunch – I’m smashing the hundreds of green and red fruit (because tomatoes are officially designated in the United States as a fruit — so I’ve heard) like wine-grapes… dispersing the many seeds into the soil. They’ll form the starter plants for next year’s crop so many months away.

And even now as I type this, the green tomato vine scent still can be detected on my fingers reminding me of Summer’s past, and Summer’s future.

2 Comments so far

  1. Mollika* (unregistered) on October 3rd, 2005 @ 11:28 pm

    I was very much amused with this story as it mirrors my annual gardening experience. No matter what, tomato plants make me feel like a prize gardener; even I can keep them alive. Having the vines grow upward is another story. There is a Detroit connection to this story . . . I’ve seen tomato plants growing along sidewalks on Hancock most probably due to discarded tomato slices outside Blimpies. Perhaps tomatos can help in the beautification of Detroit . . .

  2. Jeff Widen (unregistered) on October 4th, 2005 @ 5:23 am

    Ha Ha Ha I’m thinking about all of those over-stuffed hero sandwiches, with tomatoes tumbling out of them — the seeds working their way into pavement cracks, growing huge plants. A sort of Modern Day Johnny Tomato-Seed!

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