Annual tomato war ends

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The great tomato war has ended with a whimper:

My neighbor down the street and I always have a race to see who can harvest the first ripe tomato from our respective gardens. This year I got the jump on him and planted my tomatoes a little earlier than he did. When I informed him, he shook his head, knowing I had gotten off to a fast start.

Unfortunately, my quick start ended up resembling the old fable about the tortoise and the hare. In spite of a fast getaway, my tomatoes have taken forever to ripen. I have begun to wonder if the Miracle-Gro I put on the plants was perhaps mislabeled and was actually Slow-Gro.

Both of us had Early Girl tomato plants in the ground with a 56-day maturity listed, so I was sure I would win this year hands down. Last year we finished in a dead heat, with both of us presenting each other a ripe tomato on the same Sunday morning.

A few weekends ago, he brought his first tomato to Sunday school, holding it up for me to see. I knew it was all over and that I wasn't even close. Finally, eight days later I picked my first ripe tomato to finish a distant second out of two contestants.

Now that I think about it, I never did check his tomato to see if he had spray painted it red in an effort to get a jump on me. Oh well, as the Kansas City Royals say, "There is always next year."