Gardenia Bushes as Horizontal Tomato Trellis

2011 Tomato Plants
Okay, finally "the tomato post". I know you've been waiting with baited (bated?) breath for this. Lol! Four years ago I planted a couple different tomato plants in my tiny little plot of dirt in the back yard. I picked up the plants at Home Depot. One was named Champion and did the best. Problem was it had tough skin and really not a lot of flavor or juiciness. The following years, "volunteers" of the tomatoes popped through the ground before I could even contemplate buying any plants.

I was delighted, so I promptly put cages on them and watered them. In August I started harvesting the fruits. That's when I realized that the volunteer was Champion. Still, they were garden tomatoes, which means "free" both money and pesticide-wise, even if not the tastiest.

Apparently Champion is a determined little thing so this pattern continued for two more years. Last year I grudgingly let them grow again, putting them in cages and had tomatoes through February. This spring, I decided not to bother. I mean, all my potted plants had died of neglect and I just had no desire to garden, so I pulled up the three little plants.

To my surprise, a month later I noticed two more had popped up, so I just ignored them. They've grown horizontally over the two gardenia bushes since then. Interestingly, the gardenias seem to like the shelter that's provided by the tomato vines and leaves from the all day sun.

Last Tuesday I spied two upper fruits beginning to turn orange. Yesterday I went out to examine them and was shocked to find two branches hiding under in the foliage holding about 10 ripening orbs. I also found a green tomato horn worm which I removed with surgical precision involving tongs to grasp the branch it was eating and scissors to cut the branch with the worm from the plant. Into a bag and out to the garbage it went.

Since it's been in the 100's for about a week now I knew I had to pick the ripe ones or they'd get soft and mushy. So here are a few pictures (my camera decided to start working again for some reason) of the sad-looking but apparently happy and content horizontal plant with it's shiny red ornaments.
I'm amazed at the determination of "life". Against all odds and in spite of me (pulling up volunteers and not watering the ones that came after) these two little pieces of life persisted and produced food. It makes me feel sort of embarrassed to have let the five year divorce and Frost's death drop me so low that I'd given up on my little patio garden of potted plants. I may have to give in, prepare a couple of pots, then go buy some basil, thyme, oregano, sage and rosemary plants tomorrow. Then again, maybe later in the week when it cools down.

Oh, I forgot to mention it but I picked 9 tomatoes! Average size was 1 to 2 inches (2.5 to 5.1 centimeters) in diameter.



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