My mother could never grow a tomato. She tried every single year and never had even one. Nobody knows why. Did she plant them in the wrong place? The wrong dirt? The wrong way? We’ll never know. Tomatoes stumped her for years.
When I began to garden obsessively, I decided, despite my jaded opinion of growing tomatoes, that I would give it a try. I read books, articles, joined tomato growers support groups, and got as much information as possible before I ever planted one. I had no real trouble with tomatoes. I could grow them big or small.
I take great care of the tomatoes. I plant them, space them adequately apart, feed them organic tomato food, stake them with fancy trellis stakes (none of this ‘tomato cage’ stuff), water them, net them from the birds, and cut back the branches enough to let in light and circulate air. Suffice to say, I’ve had pretty good success and an abundance of tomatoes over the years.
Have you ever had a ‘volunteer’ tomato plant? That’s when one comes up in the garden in places other than planned. Last year the birds must have gotten more of my cherry tomatoes than I thought, because I had 6 or 7 ‘volunteers’ come up all over the garden between the raised beds. I left them there thinking they would just eventually wither and die. Well they didn’t. Darned if those tomato plants didn’t yield more than the ones I carefully tended on a daily basis. Despite the fact they didn’t get regular water, they were never fed any special food, they aren’t staked or tended in any way, they yielded more tomatoes than all of my other plants put together. One such ‘volunteer’ was about four feet across, and three feet high and had at least 100 cherry tomatoes at any given time. I got them by the bowl full!