A few days ago a friend exclaimed, "I have such a craving for a fresh tomato, I think I'll buy myself some." But quickly added, "I know they don't come close to our homegrown ones."
"Another few months and you'll have some from the greenhouse." I informed her. "We just transplanted 84 tomato plants yesterday.
"I can't wait!" was her enthusiastic reply.
I was curious, so I did a little bit of research and came up with a slice of 'love apple' history:
Tomatoes were first cultivated in 700 AD, and originate from wild plants in the Andes Mountains in South America. The Spanish introduced this plant to Europe in the 16th century. The Spanish and the Italians were the first Europeans to adopt it as a food.
Botanists at the time, considered the tomato plant poisonous, because it's related to the belladonna and nightshade. The Italians called tomatoes, golden apples, which suggests they may have been yellow back then. To the French they were pomme d'amour, love apples.
This delicious fruit was brought to Canada and the US by the Europeans. Thomas Jefferson is said to have raised tomatoes in Monticello in 1781. Next time you feast on a tomato sandwich, you'll know a tad more about this fruit, which is used in a variety of ways around the world.
We start them at our house, since one tray doesn’t take up much room. Plus, we save on having to heat the greenhouse the first few weeks of the season. Although this year it was rather mild. I’m always amazed that a tiny tomato seed grows into a twenty foot vine (We measured one in the fall, when we took them down.) and yields an abundance of fruit. Yes, a tomato falls under fruit. I read a quote from Miles Kington recently: “Knowledge is knowing that tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it into a fruit salad.”
T’was wonderful to watch our seedlings sprout and grow over the holidays! That is when I was inspired to write a blog post… start a gardening journal of sorts. (I know, took me long enough to finally sit down and do it.) One never knows where inspiration will sprout from.
A few days ago we moved our little plants to the greenhouse and transplanted them. Almost daily you can see changes as they grow. Yes, come March we’ll see the first fruit of the season. For now I can dream about thick slices of tomatoes between fresh slices of homemade whole wheat bread.
Knowing how much people enjoy our fresh tomatoes, adds to the joy of growing tomatoes!