What I wouldn’t give at this moment to have a homegrown, vine-ripened tomato. I’d slice it up and make a sandwich; of thickly cut slices, lightly sprinkled with fleur de sel and coarsely ground Balinese pepper, then I’d add a thin layer of raw, sweet onion, and a few just plucked basil leaves, all sandwiched between warm slices of recently-out-of-the-oven baked milk bread, bread slathered with homemade Tuscan mayonnaise—mayonnaise created with the greenest of extra-virgin olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar! I am drooling with the image and deeply aching with the anticipation of it all.
I no longer live in a home with a large backyard, where I was once able to grow my very own vegetables, and most especially delighted in growing a wide variety of tomatoes, tomatoes kissed all day by the sun, ripened on the vine, made wholly luscious and sweet.
These days I live in an apartment, I therefore no longer have the perfect location for the heat intensity of a full day’s worth of blazing sun, exactly what’s needed for tomatoes to grow big, juicy, and delicious!
So after yearning for over three long years for homegrown tomatoes, my husband and I have put our heads together to device a way to grow them from our tiny, little balcony, a balcony that gets no sun of which to speak of. The sun we get is very, very limited—shining on only the edge of our balcony for a measly half hour in the early morning hours and about the same at the closing of day.
I couldn’t even hope for a chance to suntan my face, let alone sunburn it!
So we enthusiastically plunged ahead with our idea. We eagerly drove to our local Home Depot and Orchard Supply stores and found all that we needed: plant-lights with fixtures and chain, and tomato plants—San Marzano, Husky Red, and a purple heirloom variety—already potted and fixed with cages. We wasted no time in setting the stage for making the dream of growing our very own tomatoes a reality.
We also brought home herbs, sage, rosemary, and sweet basil!
Now a number of plant lights dangle over our precious tomatoes, and herbs. And so we wait, with fingers and toes crossed, to see what will miraculously grow. And hopefully Mother Nature will be kind with the weather, because, though tomatoes are self-pollinating, they will still require just the right weather conditions for the flowers to hang on and later scatter their pollen; hence the fruit, the tomatoes, the bounty for a harvest, my vine-ripened tomato sandwich.
I will also give my tomato plants lots of love! They gotta have love, after all!
We dream a life to be; we live to dream that life! (vka)