Every morning I step on the rock in just the right spot to lever it up and free the gate to allow a tender visitation from a rather doting garden mamma. Since the tomatoes are right there, I walk down the row and pinch out the suckers. I swear I check closely every day, and every day I find just one that looks as if it had been there since the tomato first pushed out of the soil. Damn. As I go, I check on the little fruits themselves. With the rain, they swell until their skins can just barely hold them in. Then, like a pregnant belly, they pause for a moment and allow for some internal adjustment that allows them to swell just a little more. My wee tomatoes (which will hopefully become less wee) are still entirely green, but the bottoms are starting to show lighter green streaks that stretch toward the stem. I know a few more hot sunny days and the pale green will predominate the palate. Nestled at the base of the tomatoes are basil plants. Lemon, Thai, and Italian basils all transplanted during this mini-drought. They’re toughing it out like the true Mediterranean plants they are. I pinch back the flower buds as I go. The first row of tomatoes ends in ruby chard. (Honestly, could I grow anything else?) Those blazing stalks stand out in the green garden. The volunteer cilantro at the end of that row is just going to seed, but the seeds are still green. I’m keeping an eagle eye on them because Shane cooks excellent southwestern style food, and coriander is a household staple.
Weeds are slowly creeping up on me these days. Sigh. While the average weeds are a cinch to pull out of the soft deeply dug beds, the witch grass poses a stronger threat. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as pulling a foot or more of long pale suckering root from the beds. More commonly though, the root breaks off in the compacted walkways and I just know the witch grass will return in a day or two to taunt me.