Living Matters: Tomato bonanza sprouts even bigger plans

My thumb has long been the least green of anyone I know, yet something amazing has happened.

My tomato plant is thriving. Make that, my tomato plant is exploding.

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My tomato plant — let’s call it Jumbo — is apparently on steroids.

I don’t know how this happened. It’s the same variety of tomato plants I’ve had in the past. It was purchased at the same nursery and is situated at the same spot on the deck where its predecessors were placed.

In other years, however, those predecessors have been uniformly disappointing. I fed them, staked them when they became floppy, and resisted the inclination to tell them that they were annoyances and a waste of time and money.

But they failed to thrive, let alone explode.

Not so with Jumbo. This baby — which is anything but a baby — stands taller than I and is on course to produce a bounty of tomatoes. It will, by my reckoning, produce enough babies to keep us in pasta sauce all winter long.

“Can you believe this?” I asked the husband the other day. We were having a drink on the deck, Jumbo at our side.

“I can’t,” said the husband. “What did you do differently this year?”

Fact is, I haven’t the foggiest. Beyond watering, I’ve done nothing to nurture Jumbo. But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to take credit for the thing.

“I think I’ve developed something of a way with plants,” I said to the husband. “Turns out I’m a gardener, after all.”

The husband smiled.

“Really,” he said. “OK, so what’s next for the gardener?”

I pondered the question.

“Well,” I said. “I think that next year I may get into agriculture in a really big way. We may need to sacrifice the lawns, front and back. I may even put a little road-side vegetable stand out front.”

The husband nodded.

“You know,” I said, “this could really help out with retirement. We may even be able to take two cruises a year.”

“And who’s going to tend to the farm while we’re away?” asked the husband.

“The hired help,” I said. “Man, there’s so much to think about! My head is spinning.”

Yep, crazy as it sounds, my thumb is clearly green after all. I’m as shocked as anyone else, for sure, but I think I’ve found my calling.

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