"Getting rid of everything that doesn’t matter allows you to remember who you are. Simplicity doesn’t change who you are, it brings you back to who you are."

Saturday, April 27, 2013

A 500 Dollar Tomato Milestone

Hard to believe that we started our first garden (and the blog) only 3 years ago today!  Gosh, it feels like a LOT longer.

I'm sure that many of you might wonder "Why is this blog named 500 Dollar Tomato?" 

Looking back at the investment of time and money that it's taken to get the garden to where it's at today...Well, I'm sure that the smarter move would've been to just keep buying our fruits and veggies at the market. 

Good thing I actually enjoy gardening!

I was curious as to what my thoughts were on my very first post 3 years ago...

April 27, 2010 
The 500 Dollar Tomato
(Flashback to the Summer of 2009)

Ever wonder why things that are supposed to be "simple" end up costing so much? I mean really...

It's just supposed to be a garden. You stick a seed in the ground, toss a little water on it and "viola"...a perfect delicious tomato appears. Only I've got a concrete clay backyard with something green (weeds?..can't be grass) and a few native bushes and trees to help provide some much needed shade.

We planted a Maple 5 years ago and we enjoy sitting in the summer shade most evenings, alcoholic beverages in hand, happily buzzing our way into relaxation.

"Look at that crack in the ground". SM points out. (It hadn't rained in days.) "I almost expect magma to come oozing out at any moment".

"Damn big crack." I agree.

Such is life in the North Carolina Piedmont where natural disasters are few. (Hugo, aside) But daily adversities such as hard clay, intense sun and all or nothing precipitation make vegetable gardening a joke.

SM and I were both raised in the lush greenness and yummy black soil of Ohio. (Funny how things become desirable when they're harder to get.) The reality is, like most kids, working the garden was a chore handed down by Mom & Dad.

SM is one of 8 kids. Gardens had to happen back then. Dad worked in the coal mines. Mom fixed one meal, cleaned up and began the next meal. (Rinse/Repeat) I can only imagine how big that garden was. Sweet corn, wax and green beans, peppers, squash, cucumbers, tomatoes....


"BLT sandwiches" SM says with a happy faraway smile. "Mmmmmm" sounding like Homer Simpson.

"When was the last time you had a really good tomato?" I asked.
(Me? I don't eat tomatoes. I can manage chili, pizza that sort of thing. I don't even like catsup on my fries.)

"Not recently....nothing tastes good anymore, you notice that? Tomatoes don't even smell like tomatoes. Peaches, nectarines? Hard as a rock. And the prices! $1.50 for a green pepper."

"No wonder we drink." I smile.

"We should plant a garden." SM says.

"We did! Don't you remember? Over there..." I nodded my head to where the shed now stands.

"We did?!"

"Yeah...! Watered it twice a day cause that was the year we hit 100 degrees for half the summer!" I said exaggerating...(something I do quite well!) "All we got out of it was a few bitter green peppers and a petrified squash."

"Well, we should try again." SM points out... visions of tomatoes dancing in his head.

"Yeah right!" I kicked the ground with the heel of my shoe. "Hard as a rock! You can't even dig a hole in this stuff."

"Yeah...I guess you're right." He sighs.

(But somewhere a seed was planted. And if my Baby wants a tomato that tastes like a tomato, well then....)

The Veggie Garden

We have crappy soil. 

We want tender delicious vegetables.

How do we get what we want?

We give the roots what they want.  Crumbly brown nutrient rich soil. 
If we had been smart, we would have applied and tilled in manure and composts over the years into a selected area and let nature do it's thing.  (SM spoke with a fellow here in town who has lived and gardened his plot for 20+ years and that is exactly what he does.  Now he's got the good stuff.)

I want his good stuff and I want it now. 

Immediate gratification.  Gimmie gimmie gimmie!

Well, if you want it, you can have it....for a price.  My price was $500.00

Every spring I get into a "project" mode. $500 dollars is what I consider a "doable" for our budget.  It's an "ouch" not a "yikes". 

So that's how it all came about.  And we're STILL building the garden.

Thanks for stopping by as we begin our 4th year of adventures!


  1. Love your blog and enjoy reading it everyday .

  2. It must be time for a change in the blog name. $1000 tomato?

  3. So glad you started both! Enjoy your weekend!

  4. Congratulations on the Blog/Garden Anniversary! And thanks for the flashback. Here's to ANOTHER four years :)

  5. Congrats on 3 years. Time flies doesn't it? Crazy. But what a great way to chronical all of your thoughts. Here's to a few more years. Cheers.

    @ 3Beeze Homestead