My mother always had a garden. She grew string beans, peppers, corn, herbs, some other vegetables and…..drum roll please!…..tomatoes. If you never had a tomato right from the plant, you haven’t had a good one. The problem with tomatoes is that you can’t refrigerate them. It kills the flavor and all grocery stores refrigerate them to extend selling time. They also pick them when they are slightly underripe.
Years ago you could go to a farm market during the summer and get wonderful tomatoes. Then those little farm stands grew bigger and put in refrigeration. Bummer. I thought I had the answer.
I planted a garden just like Mom’s. I have been doing this for years but eight years ago I moved to the current house which is about a half mile from a protected wildlife preserve. I thought living there would be cool and it was the first time I saw a herd of deer in my yard. Then the wild turkeys came in to visit (still cool). The mallard ducks tried to make out (yes, make out) in my pond (still cool). Then there are always the rabbits and groundhogs which are everywhere along with raccoon, fox, opossum and other critters doing a lot of things I won’t post here. I have learned a lot more about sex since I have lived with all these animals. Frogs have the best stamina. Take my word for it.
My first garden didn’t stand a chance so I surrounded it with a four-foot chicken wire fence. The deer could stick their heads over it to snap off vegetables or jump it and the groundhogs didn’t have any problems getting in either. Then there was the six-foot fence with plastic deer netting. I thought that would be easier to handle. There was no door so I had to untie a section every time I wanted to go in. Sigh.
I tried all kinds of wildlife repellent. Some smelled like rotten eggs and some were little soaps. Nothing worked. The groundhog even climbed my peach tree to have dessert.
The ever patient beloved husband took me to a fencing place where they quoted us $2,500 to put in a 10 foot by 10 foot by 6 foot high chain link fence with a people door. Yikes. Assuming I could get 25 pounds of tomatoes out of the garden, that’s $100 a pound.
Then I had a brainstorm. (The beloved husband hates brainstorms because they always mean work for him.) I saw a dog kennel with a people door. I bought one with the same dimensions for $250 and it was just as sturdy except it wasn’t cemented in the ground. We did have to get some landscaping timbers to mount it on and good soil to amend the clay soil that was there. Then we bought some landscaping plants so it didn’t look gross from the street. All told I brought the cost of the tomatoes down to $25 per pound. I think that’s a bargain! Amortized over time, it’s almost nothing. This is a treat from my childhood we are talking about here!
As for the beloved husband….he’s still shaking his head.