Field of Science

Tomatoes or grass?

As a youth, one of the characters that lived nearby was always getting us to help with various projects, and invariably we'd ask, "What will we be paid?" And his answer was always something like, "Two bucks and all the grass you can eat." So given the choice, tomatoes or grass, most people don't have to think very long. Thus it is nothing, if not sensible, to use your little bit of Lincolnland to grow tomatoes and other garden produce rather than having a monoculture of grass. Oh, but if you live in the village of Northbrook they may ask you rip out your garden and plant lawn for no other reason than your tomatoes are in front of your house rather than behind it, and some stupid ass has such a stunted aesthetic sense that they think a boring monoculture of grass looks better than a tomato garden. Clearly, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is involved, and what brings more happiness than gardening and picking a vine ripe tomato? Song writer Guy Clark once observed that there are "only two things that money can't buy...and that's true love and home grown tomatoes." At what point does some bureaucratic git decide what is and is not prohibited? A garden need be neither weedy nor ill kept, which is what most lawn appearance ordinances prohibit. Attempts to define weeds as "aliens" will not work to eliminate tomatoes in favor of lawn grasses, since neither are natives, and there are probably more weeds in most lawns than in most kitchen gardens. Surely you can eliminate grass completely and plant annual and perennial ornamentals, and what is more ornamental than big, red fruits? But if the sight of a nice garden really offends, then my suggestion is that the garden be surrounded by a picket fence, lined with sunflowers, and the tomatoes and a machine gun nest camouflaged within, then when neighbors come calling for some tomatoes, or some petition passer comes prowling, both can get what they so richly deserve. Why next they'll be wanting gardeners to sit in the back of buses, step off sidewalks to make way for lawn mowers, and to eat plastic, store-bought tomatoes! Hmm, a couple of those tomatoes have a spot or two on them and are beginning to rot. We'll have to throw them away, tonight.

1 comment:

Pat said...

What?????!!!!!! Tomatoes are some of the loveliest of vegetables to grow. Sea buckthorn hedges would be my choice if they survive where you are. Thorns and gorgeous decorative and edible fruit.