So this year I decided to give away some tomato plants to members of my community, and you want to know what's interesting? The number one question I received form people was not about how to care for tomatoes, nor really anything to do with growing them at all. The most frequently asked question was, "Why are you giving them away?"
My reasons for doing this were very, very simple and I'll get to that in a moment. More importantly, however, what I learned from the fact that this question was so common, was that I need to do this more often!
I have always grown tomato plants in the past, but generally I would plant a few, then more or less leave them to fend for themselves. Sometimes I would get some decent crops, sometimes not so much, but I never really focused on them in any big way. This year I decided to really put some energy into my tomato into this endeavor. I wanted to try my hand at maximum tomato production. After purchasing from an online seed supplier, I set to work. So being that altogether I had over 100 seeds, I figured I should plant them all--I hate wasting seeds! I had plenty of space at my window for some tiny seedlings. Besides, being that I had been so involved with many communities throughout this city, this was the year that I made it my mission to finally connect with my very own neighbourhood for a change, so why not give some away and share the joy if I could! There you have it. That is the very simple reason why I was giving away tomato plants--because I could, and because it might make people happy. Anyone else in this position would do the same!
So a couple of months passed and those tiny seedlings needed transplanting. My original plan was to move them outdoors once frost season had subsided, but the frost was still around, so... time to build a greenhouse! (I'll write about how I built my 100 square foot greenhouse for less than $200 in another blog). The greenhouse saved me a lot of time and effort from having to move the plants and all that was really left was the watering. By the end of May I was ready to give to my community and I connected with members via the community gardening Facebook page among other avenues, as well as simply dropping plants off at neighbour's homes along my street. I even offered a plant to a passer-by, walking her dog, who was very thrilled at the random offer.
As for the tomatoes I have left in my greenhouse, we are ready to harvest a couple of 1-pounders already! So far, my biggest tomato production year is looking fantastic. Happy growing everyone!!
Ted Bahr is the founder of Prairie Sage Permaculture. MORE