In the near corner of the back yard, I’d thrown away some tomatoes. Tomatoes that had lasted past their prime, so to speak. A few weeks later, several volunteer plants had sprouted. By the time of the first hard frost in November, some of the plants had bloomed and one even had a tiny tomato on it. I couldn’t stand to see all those plants go to waste. So on a very chilly evening with darkness and death close at hand I dug up a couple of the plants and reset them in a big bucket full of dirt.
I moved the bucket inside and began caring for the plants with something approaching due diligence. Both plants promptly wilted and draped over the side of the bucket. So I pruned them back a bit. Sometimes it seems that a bit more abuse seems to spark the survival instinct. In this case, what worked for one didn’t work so well for the other. After another two or three weeks, I gave up on the one plant and removed it.
The survivor put on a few more blooms but none of them set. That lone tomato held on and even managed to grow a bit. Over the next two months, it changed from tiny green marble to large green marble. Two weeks ago, at the magnificent size of a tiny tangerine, it began to change colors. A hint of pink at first, shifting to orange and then to a definite red.
As that lone fruit ripened, the plant began to yellow, twist and wither. It seemed as if it had been holding on just long enough to get that one tomato delivered.
It seemed like a shame for a plant to give everything it had for one tiny orb. It was quite a delight, though, to have a home-grown tomato fresh off the vine in the middle of winter. Randa enjoyed her two little bites very much and I enjoyed mine. Sometimes, all of the effort we put into something may seem a bit misplaced, a bit of a waste. But in bearing good fruit, we fulfill our purpose and bring blessing to others.
Even those things planted out of season sometimes produce an unexpected harvest.