Accidental Farmer - Tomatoes and the Odd Couple
On this farm I see strange things often. The strangest romance I have ever seen proves that size doesn’t matter. We currently have two different breeds of swine on our farm. We have Red Wattle Hogs, which are rather large and unwieldy, and Juliana Pigs, which are a breed of the mini pig currently popular for keeping as pets. Our Juliana Boar wants nothing to do with his sows. He is madly in love with one of the Red wattle Sows. He routinely escapes his pen to join her in the field. You would imagine she’d have nothing to do with him, but she seems to return his affection. So much that I’ve seen her lie down and raise a hind leg when he’s doing his level best to breed her. I now worry if she’s going to birth some manner of Frankenpig. This spring is going to be full of surprises. I am filled with excitement, optimism, and dread all at once.
Spring is the busiest time of the year here. Animals birthing, chicks hatching, and the biggest of all: getting ready for our garden and crops. My tomato plants are started and hopefully will be of nice size by the time they can go in the ground. Tomatoes are my favorite from the garden and I am now biased to the point I refuse to purchase tomatoes at the grocery store. Anyone who has eaten a garden tomato can attest to the fact that store-bought in the winter tastes nothing like the real deal. I make do throughout the winter with tomatoes I’ve canned and the occasional local greenhouse tomato. Summer tomatoes are an experience. Remember what it feels like to get a ripe tomato off the vine, the smell, the warmth from the sun, and the visceral rush of juice in the first bite? (Hopefully you remembered your salt shaker.)
I’ve heard from some of my elders about planting by moon signs. I have yet to do this but Mrs. Elaine Woods has told me her in-laws did it without fail and had very good results. I’m going to try it out this spring. There is no harm in attempting it and maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised. According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac the favorable days in April for planting above ground crops are the 23 &24 and below ground crops are best planted April 6, 7, 15, & 16. I’ll take any advantage can get in my gardening after the slightly dismal year last year. Tomatoes, corn, beans, okra all did well, but the cucumbers, zucchini, squash, and pumpkins were hardly worth the effort. The one thing I can say truly thrived is my birdhouse gourds. Now I have a bunch waiting to be made into homes for all the birds buzzing the yard and feeders. Looks like Spring is about to be in full swing.
I thought I had already posted some comments, but I apparently didn’t do it correctly, so I’ll try once more.
Dear Katie, I wanted you to know I really enjoyed your column about the strange “couple.” Oh, yes and the tomatoes. But, mostly the animals. I wrote a short-lived column for a paper in a nearby town a few years ago, and people tended to like it, but I just ran out of ideas. So I really appreciate writers who can turn out good writing, time after time. Anyway, I’ll be looking for more articles from you.
Thank you! Sometimes I’m at a loss for ideas and then they just present themselves. That’s the fun of micro farming I suppose.