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After paying $5.00 for a tiny basket of tasteless, organic cherry tomatoes at a farmers market earlier this summer, I got it into my head to grow my own. Bah, humbug. I didn’t need to pay that much for something as simple-to-grow as tomatoes. I imagined myself admiring my tomato plant, picturing it heavily laden with little red fruit as I sat, enjoying my morning coffee. I was sure it wouldn’t be long before I was feasting on gazpacho at lunchtime every day. 

 It was a grand delusion, this idea of mine. 

It’s been almost three months now, and I am just getting a few ripe tomatoes. I picked a pinkish one about a week ago… because it looked like a bug was on it… and am letting it ripen on my counter. We cut the tiny thing in half a few days later and laughingly shared our delicious morsel. 

I picked a few this morning, and in spite of an almost daily misting with soapy water and hand watering in-between the sprinklers doing their duty twice-weekly, something is plaguing my vine. It doesn’t look well at all.

I’m beginning to see why sellers charge so much, now that I realize I’m not going to be rolling in tomatoes after all. 

Between the cost of the plant, plus the cost of the potting soil and all of the attention the plant demands, I’m not sure it will be worth it for the yield.

Another lesson learned, and to quote Deputy Dawg, “Dagnabbit!”

XO Donna


  • Laurel July 22, 2019 at 6:33 am

    Ha! My experience exactly. I also had some critter chew into a few good ones. I’ve decided the farm market tomatoes are just the thing for me. Had the same experience with Chard and Arugula. Life in the country hasn’t worked out like the movies for me. But we still love it. Cheers!

    • Donna July 22, 2019 at 3:56 pm

      I think in the long run, loving it IS what counts most! I pictured a Martha Stewart-meets-Green Acres scenario, too, but… not so much. LOL.

  • Marie Grenier July 22, 2019 at 6:43 am

    Looking at your tomato plant, I spot a clue sprouting. You need to nip those sprouts — they rob precious energy from fruiting and ripening. Lessons learned, don’t give up! Cute story — we’ve all been there!

    • Donna July 22, 2019 at 3:58 pm

      Thank you, Marie, I won’t give up, after all. I guess, like everything else, there’s a learning curve.

  • Donna July 22, 2019 at 6:55 am

    Gardening is not the easiest thing in the world. So many factors can keep you from a good and tasty crop. The weather has not been cooperative this year…too much rain or scalding temperatures. We are just now getting tomatoes here in the Midwest and they are tasty. If you are on Pinterest and are interested in gardening, there are tons of pins on raising specific vegetables and fruits. The Urban Farmer and I like walking out in our backyard to select food for our meals.

    • Donna July 22, 2019 at 4:00 pm

      Hi, Donna – that’s a good idea! I don’t know why I hadn’t thought to check Pinterest for how-to info.I will do that!

  • Judith Briscoe July 22, 2019 at 8:56 am

    Donna, your fellow blogger Sandy Sallin told me I would enjoy your blog..and I do! Thank you for the most entertaining reading. I just read your great tomato venture. The photo of the old bearded fellow surrounded by vines heavy with perfect, bug free tomatoes was perfect! Dream on!

    I am an Austin denizen and have reached the ripe old age of 80 and still believe I am bulletproof.

    Judi Briscoe…Northwest Hills

    • Donna July 22, 2019 at 4:04 pm

      Well, hello, Judith! I’m so glad you love that photo, too. Yes, it was a pipe dream… but, may as well dream BIG, right?? Bulletproof, eh? I love that, so inspiring!

  • Rena July 22, 2019 at 10:38 am

    I did the same thing for a couple of years and ended up with a $249 tomato! I gave up and had to go back to the Farmer’s Market. Luckily for us, we have several to choose from that are only within a few miles of us.

    • 1010ParkPlace July 22, 2019 at 12:24 pm

      Rena! LOL!!! The $249 tomato! That was my experience as well. xoxox, Brenda

    • Donna July 22, 2019 at 4:07 pm

      Rena, I have tears running down my face – I’m laughing with you!! I hate it that I can’t be good at everything I try my hand at… such is life, right? Thanks, you made my day!

  • Roberta Z. July 22, 2019 at 12:55 pm

    Well…it is so nice to know that I was not the only one with visions of tomatoes dancing in my head! I thought this would be so much fun that I even planted several herbs to go with my tomato plant (basil, rosemary, etc). So, now I have to water it twice a day because it is 97 degrees outside and I have 2 tomatoes that are little and green. I have my fingers crossed that they make to the red and ripe stage untouched by bugs and rabbits! I think next year, I will be back at the farmer’s market…or waiting till friends at work bring in all of their extras.

    • Donna July 22, 2019 at 4:10 pm

      Roberta, you are not alone. I did the same thing! The basil, oregano and thyme all all doing well, of course… I guess I should be grateful that I have anything to show for my efforts on the outdoor gardening front. Back to the farmer’s market for me, too.

  • Barbara July 22, 2019 at 3:26 pm

    Friends, family and coworkers bring tomatoes to work and to my home. Most of the time, they are smallish, and split open, and do not taste even as good as the store bought ones. There was a time when home grown was the best. I believe due to our over-worked soil, that time is past, and not to be revisited. I’ve tried to do some home-grown things, and they usually end up costing as much in time, if not in money as well.

    • Donna July 22, 2019 at 4:14 pm

      And that seems to be the consensus here, Barbara. I know only one woman who is a magnificent urban gardener, and she isn’t me! Houseplants, yes. Food gardening, nope. So nice to hear from you!

  • Sandra Sallin - Apart From My Art July 23, 2019 at 12:37 am

    Ha! Yep, I tired tomatoes. The squirrels loved them. A lot of work for my squirrels to eat them all. Now I’m growing Rosemary. I don’t think i takes any ability and the squirrels ignore the plant. So Donna, try rosemary. I dare not try basil too delicious.

    • Donna August 1, 2019 at 10:24 am

      Hello, Sandra – I had no idea squirrels would eat tomatoes, cheeky little buggers! I do have a lovely upright rosemary, and nobody bothers it! I have also done well with basil, oregano, and lemon thyme. All would have been delicious with the tomatoes! Such is life, right?

  • Cindylou July 23, 2019 at 10:11 am

    I have found that cherry tomatoes do much better. We’ve even had “volunteers “ come up where you’d least expect them and they give fruit until November.

    • Donna August 1, 2019 at 10:29 am

      Hello CindyLou – I may try them next year! Since the problem turned out to be a fungus, I’ll have to start all over with fresh dirt ($$$$) and plants, etc. Don’t know if my heart’s in it anymore. I may just stick with herbs from now on, I can grow those! Thank you!

  • Gina July 25, 2019 at 8:32 pm

    Tomatoes. I have planted them in a pot, in the ground and even tried them upside down! They simply will not grow. Last summer I had one lone tomato on my vine and I was giving it just another day or so to fully ripen. I looked outside one morning just in time to see my dog eat it! He has also been spotted eating my figs and snapping at Meyer lemons on the tree.

    • Donna August 1, 2019 at 10:35 am

      Bad Dog!! But it is pretty funny… I guess some of us are not destined to grow tomatoes, eh? I’ve decided that conceding to that fact will give me a lot less work to do. I was so in love with the idea, you know? Yes, I’m sure you do.

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