Friday, June 12, 2009

How Does Your Garden Grow

Psst. Come a little closer. I have something to tell you while Hubby's not around. If you haven't been coming to this site long, there's something you should know about the Hula-gen's. We love tomatoes. In fact, we are tomato nuts. As in welcome to our tomato patch. All fifty plants.
Each year we plant enough tomatoes to feed a starving country. It's really Hubby's project. Teen Angel and I are just the hired help. He carefully orders his seed, fertilizes the ground and plants his different varies every year, and then Teen Angel and I eat the bounty. Somewhere in there we weed a little and pick a lot, but mostly we just eat the produce. Big Boy's, Big Bertha's, Better Boy's, Fourth of July's, Sweet 100's. We have just a little bit of everything, and we love them all.

The three of us spend weeks anxiously awaiting the first sweet morsels. And then we spend two months giving away tomatoes to friends, family, neighbors, church members, strangers, people stranded on the side of the road and anyone who stands still long enough to fall for the line, "Here hold this." I chop tomatoes, can tomatoes, freeze tomatoes. I make salsa and bisque. It's tomato, tomato, tomato around here for weeks. But the real fun comes before the fruit ever ripens because, Hubby has a real competitive streak, and it's a race between him and our 86-year old neighbor every year to see who can grow the first tomato of the season. Try as he might Hubby always loses. And he's going to lose again this year because you see, this is what his plants look like right now.
By the way, that pvc pipe is his watering system, which is actually very effective but looks kind of goofy until the plants get bushy. Our plants are pretty and have some blooms.
But a few are small because we had to replant about a third of them due to too much rain at the beginning of the season.
Hubby takes great care in how he plants, where he plants, how he fertilizes and how he waters. And the neighbor? Well, he just tosses his stuff out there in no particular order and ends up with this.
A mere twenty feet away from Hubby's little bushes are three foot tall leafy green plants that beat the socks off of anything we have. And our neighbor already has little green tomatoes dangling from his vines.
But don't tell Hubby though, because he thinks he still has a shot at winning. And we're going to let him believe that because she who mocks Farmer Hula-gen won't get to sample the first ripe tomato from our garden. We also won't tell him that our neighbor gives me those tomatoes that Hubby thinks comes from the grocery store in late June before ours ripen.


J.G. said...

Friendly gardening competition between neighbors is such fun! In my experience, it starts with "Did you get your peas in yet?" and takes off from there.

And oh, if we could only get a decent tomato here in Florida (sigh). You are blessed!

ChrisB said...

I can see you get great fun out of the friendly rivalry. I would love to be able to grow just a couple of tom plants but we haven't had much success so not even trying this year.

Janis said...

Years ago, when we had more land,we had a huge garden and all the neighbors had a contest to see who could grow the biggest tomatoe, we never won. Its fun to compete. Now I have just one tomatoe plant and one cuke plant. Thats all I have room for. I know what JG means about a good tomatoe in Fl. I lived in Orlando for 6 years and every summer when I came back to Md/Pa to visit, I would bring back tomatoes to my fellow co-workers,they were thrilled. I think Fl. soil is too sandy.

oreneta said...

Oh YUM!!!

Love the tomatoes here.....those sound so good...I love eating tomatoes warm straight off the vine.

Jason, as himself said...

I love it, and I'm jealous. Fifty plants? Fifty? Awesome. There is nothing, I mean nothing like a fresh vine-ripened home grown tomato.

Mia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mia said...

Here is hoping,praying and crossing my fingers that I might fall in the
"friends, family, neighbors, church members, strangers, people stranded on the side of the road and anyone who stands still long enough to fall for the line, "Here hold this." group.
Maybe hire me and pay me in tomatoes??

Cole said...

I'm commenting on this from my ipod touch!!!! Teehee!!!! Love u mommy!!!!!

Stephanie, Mama Dramatist said...

Wow! Totally jealous of the gorgeousness of your garden!!

And Cole needs a big ol' SMOOCH Texas style. Hee!

The Church Lady said...

Too funny! I only wish I lived a little closer so I could be one of the lucky tomatoe recipients!