An Overabundance of Roma Tomatoes: A Story of the Failure of a Martha Stewart Wannabe
I think I'll lay the blame on Martha Stewart. Although the seeds were sown years ago, she was the final impetus.
It was last December when Martha began her destructive work. In one of my more devastating mistakes in television viewing, I watched her Christmas show with the beautiful gold-leafed ivy; the hand-crafted, shiny silver tree decorations; and the table laden with delicacies never even dreamt of in my home. One could practically smell through the television set the pungent armoma of pine needles mixed with apple cider. Happy people poured into her warmly lit, immaculate home, each bearing gifts and Christmas cheer.
It spoke in stark contract to my tiny ranch house with the 20-year-old plastic Christmas tree tilting precariously in the corner.
I knew then it was time for a change.
It was, however, too late to change for Christmas. The mold had been set, and our Christmas ran its pedestrian course as all the Christmases before. But I knew our spring and summer would be different.
Martha, in her show on the Lifetime network, can often be seen in her weedless, lush garden planting dill seeds in unsullied shorts, crisp shirt and stark white socks. She brings in the fresh produce from her garden and prepares it in a sparkling kitchen. Finally, she feeds her family and friends unimagined healthy taste treats. This, I was sure, I could do.
The season is now late, and my garden - after a very slow start - is now producing great quantities of vegetables. But neither I, nor my garden, nor my kitchen, nor my socks, nor my friends and family yet resemble Martha Stewart's.
In spite of the weeds going to seed, my garden has seen fit to flourish. Well, sections of it have. Well, not really "sections" plural; actually just the tomatoes. I am, indeed, over run by sauce tomatoes. Milano plums (whose name had such a lovely ring to them in the early spring) and romas are ripening faster than I can harvest them. Braving the high weeds and the creatures that call them home, I will, every few days, wander into my garden wilderness to carefully pluck yet another 80 tomatoes.
My garden has weeds waist high. The weeds take all sorts of shapes and varieties, and some produce lovely weed-flowers. I have thought of writing Martha to see if they are edible, but I haven't found the time. The time I would have spent writing such letters is now tied up in trying to get my socks as white as Martha's after a stint in my garden.
The goal in early spring was to turn the tomatoes into a delicious spaghetti sauce, something to freeze and use later in the winter when such a warm home-grown feast would chase away the winter blues. Now my freezer and my kitchen look like a Ragu factory. Tomatoes finish ripening at every window sill and on every counter, and the refrigerator can hold no more milk, butter or pop. Every available shelf and drawer holds ripe, red fruit. Tomatoes, I have discovered, are like rabbits - multiplying in unthinkable quantities.
What it amounts to is I have a bijillion tomatoes.
I spent the summer chained to the stove, turning the red monster into sauce. It was hot and dirty work. My hair hung limp across my damp forehead. My clothes all have red sauce spots on them. My counters and cabinets are likewise sauced. But dirty, tired and hot, I continued my crusade for a happy, healthy home, and the tomatoes continued their saucy transformations.
But the tomatoes have won. Finally in desperation, I have given up the impossible quest for homemaker perfection. I have admitted failure, and anyone wanting sauce tomatoes who is brave enough to tackle whatever lives in the weeds is welcome to raid my garden. Any tomatoes left will be taken to our church in a hopeless attempt to pawn them off on another Martha Stewart devotee.
I am not totally despondent, however. As fall approaches, my sights have turned elsewhere. Aerobic guru Denise Austin and the possiblity of a slim, healthy fall and winter have lured me into thoughts of daily exercise via my DVD.
My home may become a wreck, but the part of my closet set aside for my skinny wardrobe should soon see action again.
Click here to read about the beginnings of the overproducing garden.