Tomato tree

Almost ripe for the picking

So we thought we’d grow some tomatoes this year. We bought a few varieties and stuck them in our planter box that we built last spring. But things didn’t go as planned. The plants either didn’t like the hot sun or the competition; they were scraggly and weak. So I dug them up and tossed them in a forgotten corner of the garden with a heap of compost. I threw an extra tomato cage on top. And pretty much forgot about them.

Tomato tree

About a month later, I only really noticed what had happened when I saw a few of these little guys peeking through the fence. I walked around the corner (seriously, it’s a place I rarely go) and was confronted with a tomato plant that was as tall as my head.

Here’s what it looks like today, a little over a month later.

It's alive!

I spent the morning tying the vines up to random parts of the fence, hoping that the weight of the fist-sized green tomatoes wouldn’t snap the delicate stems. As I was untangling the mess of leaves, I realized that this whole tomato forest was only originating from two plants. One of which isn’t even abnormally big. The other one, I’m pretty sure, is the General Sherman of tomatoes.

Getting too big

Maybe it’s the slight shade from being behind the fence; maybe it’s how this little patch of soil manages to conserve water. But I’ve never experienced tomato plants like this. Each week, we get a dozen fruits. And with their light-red, super sweet, slightly pointed globes, I’m almost 90% sure they’re Japanese tomatoes.

But here’s the thing. We didn’t buy any Japanese tomatoes.

All the varieties we bought were colorful heirlooms. But we sure do eat a lot of Japanese tomatoes. Meaning that this freak of nature, this organic monstrosity, this Audrey Two of the nightshade family? Yep, it was most likely a survivor from the compost bin.

Tomato bounty

And you know what else this means? It’s going to be a great month for making my famous tomato pie.

More photos from the garden.

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  • Carren Jao

    Wow! That’a s great story. Maybe tomatoes like cool shade?

  • communicatrix

    Extra tomatoes? I’ll be right over.