At the start of the cycle, last spring, we planted tomato seeds in trays in the hot house. We nurtured the seeds and watched them grow. When they were large enough to cope, we moved them outside or into the poly tunnels to give them space. We tried to provide ideal growing conditions by planting according to the moon's phases, weeding out some of the competition, feeding and irrigating and staking. And then over the last few months we enjoyed the harvest.
We had a wonderful, bountiful tomato season this year.
We picked colanders and baskets and buckets and crates full.
We ate them straight off the bush and in salads and sandwiches and cooked them in absolutely everything. And we preserved enough sauce and semi drieds to hopefully last us through out the year.
And then along came the first frost of the season. Just like that the outside tomato season was over. The frost burnt the foliage and damaged the remaining, as yet unripe fruit.
Following the first frost the chooks went in to clean up. They gobbled up the fleshy fruit, they ate the bugs and scratched up the dirt. And they pooed. Our chooks are really the hardest workers on our farm.
In the next few days, after they are done, my farmer boy will plow the tomato scraps and the chook poo into the soil adding much needed organic matter and fertiliser to the land that has grown our beautiful and delicious fruit.
After the plowing up we'll probably plant a winter pea crop or a broad bean crop to add nitrogen. We have to do everything we can to look after the health and balance of our hardworking soil. Everything that comes out with the growing, needs to go back in and more.
The tomato journey comes to an end.
And then next spring we'll start all over again.
As much as I dislike the cold and wet and grey, I love the seasons. I love that everything has it's time.
My farmer boy asked me the other day if I could commit to seasonal eating completely this year and cut out fresh tomatoes until they grow here again next summer. That is a big one for this thinly sliced tomato with salt on crackers loving girl. It even makes me panic a bit. But I think I'm going to try. It makes sense I think.
I'll be enjoying every single precious tomato I pick in the poly tunnels for the next week or so, that's for sure.
Are you a seasonal eater?
Could you do without?
Thinking about how far away the tomatoes are grown and how they travel to get to me over the depths of winter certainly helps.
Happy week my friends.