I learned something useful today.
Aside from living in a state that refuses to acknowledge winter, Florida is blessed with year-round, fresh produce. There is a well-stocked Farmer’s Market somewhere close on any given weekend, every weekend.
One such market is held in my hometown on the first Saturday of each month. It’s small in comparison with other markets, but it’s all locally grown, and the people are southern friendly.
I was schooled in tomato husbandry at a booth where ripe, red toms were sold. Not much tastes better than a REAL homegrown tomato. They actually taste like sunshine, and not soggy cardboard like so many hothouse ‘maters do.
I’ve tried to grow my own. I have a nice big, sunny backyard. My Mister even built me two, large above-ground garden plots. I have gorgeous tomato plants, covered in bright yellow blossoms… until I don’t.
In three years, I think I had, maybe, two tomatoes grow to fruition. TWO! Just when you expect the blooms to morph into tiny green fruit, they DROP. OFF. I tried moving potted plants to my patio so I could adjust direct/indirect sun accordingly. I watered religiously, fed them, talked to them, pleaded with them. Nothing helped.
I lamented my brown thumb to the grower while he bagged my toms. He shrugged his shoulders and said, “you need to pollinate the blooms. Just use a Q-tips, and dab a little pollen from one plant to another.”
Said it like it was as obvious as, “you gotta breathe to live.”
Day-um! If I’d known it was that easy, I would’ve had bumper crops every season.
Now, I can’t wait until next spring to try my hand at a little tomato sex.
I’m grateful for:
1. Year-round Farmer’s Markets
2. Homegrown tomatoes
3. Illuminating farmers