Saturday, March 21, 2009

Competitive Tomato Growing

At our couples book club dinner last week, half-a-dozen men were huddled, thoroughly absorbed in conversation about... not golf, not MLB spring training, not their latest home improvement projects, and surprisingly, not the economy or the spiraling unemployment rate.

In hushed tones, these middle-aged, comfortably dressed, contentedly married men were earnestly discussing the upcoming tomato plant sale at the local arboretum, which features 200 varieties of heirloom, organic and newly developed species of their favorite backyard spring crop.

They were plotting strategies both for snagging the most desirable plants, and for nurturing their prized plants to produce mouth-watering, premium fruits. They were comparing notes on on the best qualities of certain varieties, and of the unsurpassable culinary experience of home-grown tomatoes.

Today, this quietly gray Saturday morning, Ron rose and nervously prepared for his anticipated foray to the arboretum, which opened 10 minutes ago at 10 am.

Armed with a six-column spreadsheet analyzing various attributes of his top 15 plant types (ranked in order of his preference), my engineer husband murmured that he wasn't sure when he would be home, considering all that he has on his plate: soil condition and plant health and fertilizer.

After all, our next book club get-together is May 8. He has much to accomplish before then.