Fourth of July Tomatoes

At our local garden center this spring I was captivated by a new variety of tomato called “Fourth of July”.  I usually buy an Early Girl to satisfy my impatience in waiting for the harvest, but this new one promised to ripen even earlier. The promise was a tomato by the Fourth of July.

It did blossom slightly earlier than the rest and sure enough there was a ripe tomato ON the Fourth. So I picked it. But we had company for the day and I was in the middle of doing something so I had to set my treasure down, my gift from God of an early-early tomato.  It was ONLY a few minutes later when the distraction passed and I turned back to my tomato which was now being consumed by a bevy of delighted chickens– it was their first home-grown tomato of the season, too!

Can I even express the depths of my disappointment????

Well luckily another one ripened on the Seventh of July. They are small, but one fruit makes a perfect tomato sandwich. It was delicious!

Here is the plant today on the Eleventh of July:

My Fourth of July tomato plant on the Eleventh.

I am sure my eagle-eyed readers will note all the weeds in with the plant– by way of explanation…. I actually planted the spearmint in there to protect against the plague of stinkbugs who also like tomatoes. The grass is a weed that shouldn’t be there, and then there is a squash/pumpkin vine thing that I am just curious about cause I didn’t plant it. It will be my October Surprise!

Yesterday, I noticed that my Big Beef tomato plant next door had a ripening tomato also. Today it was half eaten, still hanging on the vine. There were teeth marks, not beak damage. New this year is a resident groundhog who lives here:

Next to our compost bins is our tree branch pile. It is a cozy home for Mr. Groundhog.

So far he has been too quick and eluded photographic capture, but we have met face to face. I don’t mind him living there, but I am sorry he likes tomatoes. His front door is about 20 feet from my plants. I guess it was sort of thoughtful that he left me half. You know, sharing.

But I gave it to a chicken instead…

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7 Responses to Fourth of July Tomatoes

  1. Stan says:

    HAHAHA….. what a fun read.

    BTW.. Col. Mick Nugget is doing fine, eating a lot of bugs, and loves the cat treats that none of the cats will eat. He’s actually eating so many bugs that I see him passing up small ones.

    • Julie Helms says:

      You realize you and your wife would be the “distraction” from the article-Lol! Please send pics of Col. Mick Nugget being cute. I will give him a spot on here!

  2. glorylennon says:

    Count yourself lucky, Julie. None of my tomato plants grew this year at all and I don’t really know why…well, maybe I just didn’t hover over them and coax them to succeed like yours have. Have plenty of pumpkin plants though. Pretty sure you must have that vine from a pumpkin you left outside for the winter. Some of my best plants come from the compost pile! 🙂

    • Julie Helms says:

      I am struggling with mine, too, Glory. I was going to write about that next. I was hoping you would brainstorm with me on it. Pics and story to follow…
      I think you are right about the pumpkin. I had a forgotten one that sort of deflated over the winter nearby. Still the seed had to do a pretty good hop to get into the tomato pot!

  3. Dan says:

    Sounds like corporal punishment is needed for the tomato stealing hens. NOT, it wasn’t their fault someone left them an attainable treat.

  4. Laura says:

    For the groundhog, maybe you can wrap the bottom of the cages in something (chicken wire? ground cover plastic?) to keep the tomatoes out of reach.

    So glad to know that you have spearmint. Maybe I can get some cuttings or some small bits as they spread…

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