New Castle News

September 3, 2011

Odd strategy adds up for accountant

Gary Church
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — In my humble life, the largest tomato plants that I had seen were grown by Dr. Jim Snow.

They grew up to the gutter of his garage.

As of last Monday, that changed.

Karen Coulter contacted me about a friend of hers who had a large tomato tree. I thought it might be one of those tomato trees you might find in a coupon book, but it wasn’t.

It may have looked like a tomato tree, but it was just a regular bush tomato.

Tom Hartwell is an accountant in New Wilmington. He went to an Amish greenhouse in Fayette and purchased one tomato plant.

I don’t know how accountants think, but I assume he had it figured out on a spread sheet that one tomato would be enough to feed his family.

It was, plus half of New Wilmington.

It is very common to purchase Early Girl if you want early tomatoes. Tom purchased Early Goliath, which is an alternative to Early Girl.

An advantage of Early Goliath is, it keeps on producing the whole season.

In late May, Tom dug a hole, added some Miracle Gro potting soil, and planted his vegetable garden of one tomato.

I like to alternate Miracle Gro for Tomatoes and fish emulsion fertilizers every two weeks for my plants.

Tom did something I had never heard of. He alternated Miracle Gro for Tomatoes, All Purpose Miracle Gro and Miracle Gro Bloom Booster.

I don’t know if Tom and my neighbor, Mike, are related, but neither one likes to follow directions on the box.

Tom said he alternated the three every three days. When the temperature was in the 90s, he didn’t fertilize.

Tom’s feeding plan was very successful. His tomato grew quite well.

He built a six-foot-high wooden frame around the plant to support it, but that wasn’t enough.

He soon had to add a second story to it, and added two more feet.

It helps to be a building contractor if you are going to try this.

We are taught in grower’s school that too much fertilizer will grow large foliage plants, but no fruit.

This was not the case with Tom’s tomato.

I guess accountants count everything — Tom has picked 96 tomatoes as of Monday. There are at least 60 more to be picked.

He and his son, Daniel, keep records of each picking. The fruit is an eight-ounce, meaty tomato that Tom says is very good tasting.

He said the first 96 tomatoes came from the lower six feet of the plant. He lately has removed the bottom leaves so the plant now looks like a tree.

The late tomatoes were still green when I was there, so I didn’t get a chance to taste one.

That’s OK because his wife, Renee, gave me a container of homemade wedding soup, which I would rather have had anyway.

You see, my wife retired last week. In celebration, she took the whole family on vacation without me.

She left me a measly $50, a meatloaf and four bananas to live on while she’s out basking in the sun.

With the wedding soup, plus the pancakes and pizzelles I received from Carol Glorioso, I don’t think I’ll starve.

Carol’s pancakes were made from squash flowers. I still say they need syrup, although every Italian in town will think I’m nuts.

I’m also happy to report that  Joe Glorioso finally got his yellow squash, lots of them.

I doubt if Joe knows how many squash he has picked. I don’t have a clue how many tomatoes I’ve picked.

It must be an accountant thing.

Make your space a green space.