Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Home Grown Tomatoes
Jaune Flamme Tomatoes
That's the title of one of my favorite Guy Clark songs, and also one of my next projects. I love the whole home gardening process, from getting the soil ready to eating and sharing the fruits of my labor.
This year I'll be growing quite a few heirloom vegetables. Cucumbers, green beans, lettuce, bell peppers, and seven kinds of tomatoes. I have to say that although my expectations for superior taste are pretty high, I don't think I'll be disappointed. The words "garden variety" have often been used together as a pejorative, identifying something as common, unremarkable. Truth be told the roots of the phrase are actually referring to heirloom plants. They haven't been hybridized and over-bred to withstand the rigors of shipping, so they are much more tender and almost always tastier than the fruits and vegetables you can buy in a store.
I've grown heirloom vegetables before, along with various hybrid varieties. The heirlooms always tasted better.
I'll be growing organically, of course. My post-appropriate named friend, Mark Beets, has a new blog and a shared opinion of the holier-than-thou attitude of many of our celebrities when it comes to saving the earth, but there are many opportunities for the financially challenged among us to do good things for the environment, and ourselves, on a budget. Planting an organic garden is a great step, and a lot cheaper than buying produce at Whole Foods.
My first "organic" garden was when I was sixteen. I use the quotation marks because I was living in Port Neches, TX at the time. Port Neches is in the Golden Triangle area of the state, so named because of the large petrochemical complex that was in my little corner of the world. I steadfastly refused to use chemical fertilizers and insecticides, not realizing at the time how polluted the air, water, and soil was all around me.