Sunday, January 25, 2009

Unbelievable...just unbelievable...

Central Texas weather is schizophrenic -- one minute it's cold and windy and miserable, and the next it's 80+ degrees.  

So, on our 82-degree day last Thursday, I went out to the garden, geared up for a work day.  The plan:  Rip out the 6-7 foot tall dead tomato towers that the recent freezes destroyed.  




Don't they look ugly?

I thought so, so I started the laborious process of nipping away at the dead stuff.  (With my new Felco pruners, that worked like a charm.)  I got two plants stuffed into the trash can and started on the third.  Got about the top 3-4 feet whittled away, when what to my wondering eyes should appear?
Green.

See it?  Yep  - those big stalks were green and juicy down close to the ground.  Unbelieveable.  Even in Texas.  We've had several freezes, I didn't cover these guys, yet here they are, with a zest for life.

Then I went on to the next plant, and found -- LEAVES!  Real, green leaves, way down near the bottom of the mostly-dead plant.

Unbelievable.  So, I cut them back and will leave them there.  I don't know if they will produce again - it would be their third season, since they were planted last Spring and they produced best in the Fall.  I think they can make it, but the big mystery is -- how many tomatoes will they produce and how will they taste?

Any guesses or suggestions?  You can bet I'll go cover 'em up if we have another freeze between now and March!  

It's like the great garden experiment for the season...I'm psyched!


13 comments:

Aunt Debbi/kurts mom said...

Wow, maybe I should have checked before I ripped mine out. Our weather is just insane. Friday was beautiful then Saturday and today were to cold to stay outside. Wonder what tomorrow is going to be like. I need to check the weather forcast.

Frances said...

Wowee! What a great discovery! My uneducated advice would be to give them some added feeding of some kind, whatever you normally use and cover in case of frost like you had planned. Your warm temps are so welcome, even reading that someone is having that kind of weather makes my bones a little less achey and chilled. We are having the coldest winter since we moved back to TN and it is no fun not being able to do more gardening, even bundled up. Can't dig if the ground is frozen. And those strawberries did look delicious. I am so happy you are seeing red! :-)
Frances

Diana said...

Debbi - I kept hearig crunch, crunch when I was prouning and then all of a sudden it went, squish! We had two great days last week and I cleared the decks to work outside both days, cleaning up dead stuff.

Frances -- that's a great idea. I'll wait until the danger of frost has passed and compost them and give them some seaweed. Can't imagine how hard it is to have your cold weather - I hope you're drinking hot tea and reading seed catalogs and sketching out plans.

Nickie said...

Lucky, lucky, lucky!!!!

Fresh tomatoes are only a dream here where it's currently -4 degrees F.

I envy your green :)

Susan Tomlinson said...

Look out! The cold weather is on its way. Yesterday, here on the southern panhandle, I was wearing short sleeves and this morning I woke up to a freeze.

Good luck on those tomatoes. :-)

Diana said...

Nickie - Ah, but come August you guys have some of the best tomatoes on earth. I love being in Indiana when the tomatoes ripen at my MIL's -- so big and juicy.

Susan -- Brrrr... I'll keep na eye out. We have drizzle this morning and a chance of rain here for a few days. We sure need the rain - I will willingly stay inside for a good soaking.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I have no idea how they might do. It will be interesting to see. They sure look like they want to do something.

Gail said...

Diana,

I was thinking that even the worst tasting tomatoes fresh from the vine have to taste better then the ones that grocery stores sell! It certainly sounds like you have a plan...let us know how they taste...you can always feed them to the critters. gail

Diana said...

Lisa -- Their will to live sure it something, isn't it? And we've had a pretty mild winter - light freezes only and then only a few of them.

Gail - You know, you're probably right - just because we grew them here, they will taste better. And yes, critters will eat them, too!

Annie in Austin said...

Unbelievable is the word, Diana! Tomatoes are perennials where they are found in nature so it sounds worth it to let them grow and maybe give you an extra early crop.

Once again it is apparent that you live on the far southern edge of Austin and my garden is on the far NW edge.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Diana said...

Annie - I didn't realize they were perennial in the wild. Never thought about them in the wild, frankly, so that's a fascinating tidbit. It is amazing how our rains and temperatures can vary so much from one part of town to the other. And even in our neighborhood - when I drive down our main street which is a big hill, I see the temps on my car thermometer drop about 5 degrees in the dead of winter.

getgrounded said...

Wow, Diana, I think you live on sacred ground. Combine that with your talented green thumb, and I think you live in Eden over there! It really is amazing how many microclimates are in this hill country; between the water or lack of it, the hills, the differing dirts (or lack of it); how can we just be one huge 8b planting zone? And I agree with Gail; a single tomato off an old vine is still better than the grocery store tomatoes!

Diana said...

Get Grounded - Oh - you are a hoot! Eden-schmeden! I got lucky on a few things because the weather wasn't bad -- that certainly wasn't MY doing! But I do think your point, and Annie's, about our micro climates, is why we have so many Austin garden bloggers and why we are all so fascinated with it. Just seems so improbable that it could vary so much in such a small geographic area, doesn't it?