Longing for a real tomato

Published 5:00 am Monday, August 4, 2003

Ain’t nothin’ in the world that I like better

Than bacon and lettuce and homegrown tomatoes.

Up in the mornin’ out in the garden,

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Get you a ripe one, don’t get a hard one.

Plant ’em in the spring, eat ’em in the summer,

All winter with out ’em’s a culinary bummer.

I forget all about the sweatin’ and diggin’

Everytime I go out and pick me a big one.

— Guy Clark

My tomato “crop” is coming in now. That’s the goodnews.

The bad news is I’m not going to have asandwich-maker.

I love homegrown tomatoes.

I love tomato sandwiches — a fresh tomato slice asbig as the bread, lots of mayo, salt and blackpepper.

A true tomato sandwich will “leak.” If juice doesn’tmake its way down your chin, something’s not right. If the juicedoes flow, well, just grab an extra napkin.

Homegrown tomatoes make Mississippi summers a littlemore tolerable, so this year I decided I’d plant some of my own.I’ll admit I was influenced by a possible competition with mysister, Mrs. Green Thumb of Montgomery County.

The only problem is, I don’t have a garden spot. Shedoes.

The woman takes gardening seriously. Even has agarden tiller, and I tell you, it’s worth the trip to Duck Hill tosee her operate the thing. (Mrs. Green Thumb did suffer a minorsetback when she encountered a rattlesnake in her rattlesnakebeans, but she has recovered. The snake didn’t.)

Anyway, I resorted to planting my tomatoes in flowerpots. I found a variety that came with a promise from thegreenhouse for “nice, medium-sized tomatoes.”

Well, their definition of medium and my definitionof medium is not the same. How small are my tomatoes? If I had tolive on them, I’d starve to death.

I was expecting something about the size of abaseball. I would be happy to have one the size of a tennisball.

Mrs. Green Thumb is laughing at me all the way tothe bread store and back.

But, I’m trying.

I water and fertilize to the best of my ability, andI still have hopes of waking up one morning to tomato plants loadedwith sandwich-makers.

Chances are, though, I’ll have to sleep in Duck Hillfor that to happen.

Write to Nanette Laster at P.O. Box 551Brookhaven, Miss. 39602, or send e-mail tonews@dailyleader.com.