Home-Grown Tomatoes! In January!

When I moved to Florida, one thing I expected was that fresh produce would be cheaper, especially in the winter because that’s really the growing season down here. First of all, let me say it is not cheaper. But what amazes me even more is how tasteless the tomatoes are that grow here.

Up north, in August and into September, when you stop at a produce stand and get farm-fresh tomatoes they are stunningly good. Big and red and juicy and so flavorful. Down here….big, maybe. Red? Not deep fire-engine, flaming red, but kind of a slightly rusty red. And flavor? No. They are basically flavorless.

So, some weeks ago, maybe 6 or 8, one of Dan’s neighbors gave him a couple of tomato plants, each about 6” tall. He told us they were heirloom tomatoes. Dan planted them in one of his grow boxes, in a sunny spot, and has been tending them faithfully. They are now about 3 ft. tall. He had to buy supports for them, and they seem to be standing up straighter. They also have not succumbed to cooler nights, as has the basil we just replanted. They have been getting flowers for about a month, but as usual with a young plant, the flowers fell off.

Yesterday, we returned to his house after being at mine for a few days. The last 4 or 5 days have been gorgeous Florida weather, with highs in the low 70’s, bright sun, low humidity….all the reasons you want to be here in the winter. (It is going to be cooler for the next couple of days, highs only in the low 60’s, overnight lows in the low 50’s.) But I digress. When we got back, we had three tiny tomatoes on the plant!

We are so excited! The prospect of 3 home-grown, heirloom tomatoes! So here’s hoping they make it to adulthood. Or whatever you call them when they are mature and ripe and ready to eat!! Oh, I guess you call them mature and ripe.

Whatever. I’ve never been a gardener, though I have usually had a pot of a few herbs outside my kitchen because I like to use them in cooking. You know, Simon and Garfunkel herbs: parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme. Oh and basil. Basil for caprese. In my old life with my ex, I had no sunny spot to have a garden. When I finally had my own house with a great sunny southern exposure, I didn’t have the back or knees needed to tend one. But these grow boxes are wonderful. They can be placed as high as you need them to tend them without breaking your back or knees. And you can fill the bottom with water, and go away for a few days, even in the hot weather, and they won’t dry out.

Please send all good vibes to our tomatoes! We can use all the help we can get. After all, the universe says it’s all about intention and attention. Dan’s giving the plants the attention. I am giving them intention. We’ll see, but it’s looking good so far.

Love and light to all!


Pics taken by me.


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