The Early Girls called to us, sitting on the asphalt, the first starter real starter tomatoes at the market; spring greens and herbs were no longer novel as they were in the ground, thriving. They were, true to name, at the farmer’s market before any other varieties were strong enough to make it.
Towards the middle of the June, the starters had become full plants, yellow-budded, with small green hard globes hanging heavily. The fruit scented the plot more than mint and thyme–dry, warm, a little acidic, green. Soon, the tomatoes ripen; I cut vines not only to keep the tomatoes longer inside, in the brown- and green-glazed bowl, but to bring that scent inside. I planted more marigolds and calendula, to keep bugs away, and daisies and johnny-jump-ups and zinnias wherever herbs and vegetables were not.
By July, we had more vegetables than we knew what to do with, except the tomatoes. Salad. Pasta. Sauces. Grilled. Vodka-spiked. The plot is in full sun, and we had to water it twice a day before the soil cracked. All of the tomatoes now, Early Girl and Green Zebra and orange cherry, pop off the vines. Each day I rubbed the leaves and vines between my forefinger and thumb; tomatoes are said to respond to human touch.
Late summer brings heat and a shifting sun. The nights were cooler, and we planted the greens again. We had some greens and herbs that lasted through the summer and now start to thrive the same way they did in the spring. The last of the hard green tomatoes that never ripen come off the plants; I make jars of green tomato chutney and fried green tomato BLTs. They are so good.