Posted on 30 March 2008 by

The Simple Life of a Tomato

TomatoBy Michael Nolan

Some might say that I have an extreme interest in frugality and simple living, largely because I feel a spiritual connection with the Earth.

There is no more profound experience for me than to spend time with my hands in the dirt, nurturing seeds into seedlings and seedlings into plants that then return the favor by nourishing me.

You probably have a mental image of me with long stringy hair and a tie-dyed t-shirt, but I assure you that I’m not the stereotypical hippie who might normally talk this way.

The bottom line is that I believe there are less expensive and often entirely free ways of doing things, and I feel that it is my responsibility to find them and share the information with others.

One good example of this is my penchant for seed collecting and saving. Every year I take great care to collect seeds from my vegetable plants — especially the heirlooms — and I store and label them so that I will be able to sow new crops the following year without spending the first penny on seeds or seedlings.

I haven’t had the need to purchase a single tomato for any purpose in nearly eight years, and aside from the obvious nutritional and taste value (have you seen those anemic looking hothouse things in the store?), I realized that I have saved hundreds, probably closer to thousands of dollars over the years by not wasting money on produce.

Does that make me a hippie, smart or just plain cheap?

I’ll leave that for you to decide.

6 Responses to “The Simple Life of a Tomato”

  1. deb Says:

    Not hippie, not cheap, smart. Smart people grow their own food so they know where it comes from. It is free, rewarding and better nutrition.

  2. GW Says:

    But don’t all your tomotoes cross-breed, or do you only plant one kind? I collected seed once, but the resulting plants were not so great. They were unproductive hybrids.

  3. Nancy Bond Says:

    Not only frugal, but smart. Tomatoes in our area (Nova Scotia) sell for as much as $3 per lb and more. And yes, some of them look like faded copies of a “real” tomato. I enjoy your blog for just this reason — your sensible tips AND the spiritual connection you have to the Earth, which we share, and is so evident in your writing.

  4. Michael Nolan Says:

    deb: with the economy here in the U.S. in the toilet, I think I’m pretty smart, too!

    GW: there is some cross breeding to a certain extent, but it has been very little to this point as I have made a concerted effort to keep the different varieties separate. Hybrid tomatoes rarely produce workable seeds as most of them are sterile anyway! Isn’t that just plain SAD?

    Nancy: you’re always around with a kind word. Good for the ego, you are!

  5. GW Says:

    So – the plots were physically separated? had all mine in the same area…maybe thats the difference

  6. Michael Nolan Says:

    GW: Yes, they are physically in different areas. I have a tendency to experiment quite a bit with my plants, so each year I try new methods, new locations, new varieties… Some work well, some only marginally so. But then again I have had the luxury of several acres of land to work with until this year, when my available yard space is a bit less.

    I’m actually going to be focusing primarily on container gardening this season, I think. The weather here in Alabama has been so unpredictable this year that I think it will be my best bet for a good yield.

Leave a Reply

Recent Comments