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Report From An Opinionated Gardener – August 17

So what do you think…are gardeners more willing to take chances? Is this true only in the landscape or does their willingness to explore possibilities without regard to likely outcomes extends into the rest of their lives? Your thoughts are, as always, welcomed.

This is on my mind as we eat the variety of tomatoes that I started from seeds early in March. Every year I grow an assortment, some new and others tried and true, at the garden center, and I take home one of each to grow and taste. This year the new tomatoes included Dr. Carolyn, Ananas Noire, Mountain Magic, Burbank Slicing, Isis Candy, Old German and Tiffen Mennonite. One of the companies I order seed from sent me a free packet of Virginia Sweets so I grew this one as well. Of these, only the Ananas Noire is a winner.

Yes, the Mountain Magic seems to be early blight resistant as advertised, but the fruit is small and merely passable taste wise. The Ananas Noire is the clear winner in this group for flavor, but you have to get used to the fact that it’s a greenish yellow when ripe. Isis Candy got early blight right out of the gate and we pulled it up before the end of July. Dr. Carolyn and Virginia Sweets are boring, boring, boring. Tasteless, which is really insulting in a homegrown tomato, don’t you agree?

Although the only variety from this group I’d be tempted to grow again is the Ananas Noire, I’m not sorry I tried them. If you don’t venture down an unknown road, you’ll never know what is waiting around the bend.


I can’t tell you if the willingness to experiment and try something new is the reason I’m a gardener or if it’s just a part of who I am. It’s probable, however, that gardening encourages this sort of take-a-chance behavior. Why? Because sometimes things grow…improbably, and against all odds.

Yesterday I submitted a piece I wrote for fun to a national magazine. My track record for getting such work accepted is pretty dismal. I am well accustomed to getting rejection letters. Yet I’ve learned from my garden that occasionally the long shot pays off, and that the satisfaction that comes from sowing seeds with hope is gratifying in itself.

We may only get one tasty tomato from the many varieties we grow, but just taking the chance that they might all be winners is interesting and life affirming enough.

Watch out for expectations...they'll lead you down a slippery slope to disappointment every time. I picked these tomatoes, and took this photo, fully expecting to write a blog about how they may look ugly but were, in fact, delicious. Wrong. They look ugly and they were tasteless to boot!

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