Sunday, August 1, 2010

Grow Your Own!

Don't worry, I'm talking about TOMATO plants, here! Why bother growing your own? Wow, I can list a million reasons- starting with it TASTES better, and ending with it costs less AND there are no pesticides, but let me tell you my favorite reason. I love growing tomatoes because our daughters will EAT them. Period. Yep, that's the biggie!

I think I was in college, trying to impress a boyfriend, the first time that I actually choked down a tomato in a salad. Ironically, our kids are growing up hearing me ask at every restaurant "with EXTRA tomatoes on the salad, please". I truly love tomatoes now. How did we end up with home-grown?

Well, it's kind of funny. Our girl scout troop made tiny terrariums to start growing different types of spices and tomatoes. We made them outside on our deck. Our daughter decided to plant only tomatoes- "for Mom". They grew like weeds, and in a couple months, they were over three feet tall, starting to bear fruit, and needed to move outside. We moved them outside, where they promptly died within a week (very sad.) BUT-here's the kicker-apparently, seeds from the scout planting session must have blown off the deck and into our landscaping in our back yard, unbeknownst to us. Lo and behold, mixed in with our planted lantana, was several huge tomato plants, covered with tiny tomatoes! Well, we dug out the lantana, left the tomatoes, and as I type, we have nearly thirty tomatoes on the vine! These hearty plants grew with complete benign neglect, as we had absolutely no idea they were out there! Gotta love Austin weather.

At any rate, since "we" grew these plants, our girls were proud of them and decided to taste them. I'm happy to report that they now enjoy running out back at dinner time to gather up some fresh tomatoes for everyone's salad- not just Mom's!

BOTTOM LINE: Get kids to expand their palates by letting them grow some food or spice plants- even in pots on the windowsill!

PS. Happy August 1st! As with every first of the month, I want to remind you to CHANGE YOUR AIR FILTERS!

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