(HOST) Commentator Henry Homeyer has made a New Year’s resolution that should be fun to fulfill – and also quite tasty.
(HOMEYER) I like the idea of making resolutions at the dawn of each new year. I’ve been making them for decades, but don’t usually talk about them. That way, you see, no one will know if I don’t succeed. But this year I’m pretty sure about meeting my goal.
My resolution is simple: This year I’m going to help six non-gardeners to grow tomato plants. We have a little monthly newspaper in Cornish Flat, called “Consider This”. In May I’m going to place an ad in it saying, “Wanted: Gardeners.”
I’ll explain that I’m willing to help seniors, children – or anyone, really – to grow tomatoes, one plant per person; that there will be no cost, and not much work. I’ll provide seedlings – I always start way too many anyhow, and we’ll plant one together.
The soon-to-be-gardener won’t even need to have a proper garden. We can plant a tomato in a 5-gallon pail with a few holes drilled in the bottom. All a gardener needs to provide is a sunny location, and a little water in dry spells.
Why grow a tomato? Many reasons. First, in my opinion, is the taste of home grown tomatoes. Few flavors can beat the taste of a sun-warmed tomato, ripe and red, eaten right off the vine.
And gardening – whether planting a tomato or a maple tree – is also a statement. It says “I care about the natural world.” Nurturing plants is the polar opposite of mayhem and destruction. I’m always shocked and saddened when I hear of soldiers bulldozing olive trees in the mid-East as a punishment to their enemies.
By growing something we are expressing optimism, a belief in our future. I know a woman who planted three small crabapple trees at the age of ninety. She believed she’d live to see them blossom, and I bet she will. Gardening is a great way to stay young.
I was lucky as a child. I had two wonderful grandfathers, and one was also a great gardener. He got me gardening at an early age, and I’ve never stopped. Gardening has been my passion. It has bolstered my spirits in hard times. It has given me great joy. I smile when I see a bumblebee deep inside a tulip, and I’ve been known to shout with glee when our magnolia tree first blooms in spring. I’d love to help some other people to garden.
Columnist Anna Quindlen once wrote, “Look around at the azaleas making fuchsia star bursts in spring; look at a full moon hanging silver in a black sky on a cold night. And realize that life is glorious, and that you have no business taking it for granted. Care so deeply about its goodness that you want to spread it around.”
Helping a few others to garden, even on a small scale, will be my way to spread that goodness around. Happy New Year.
Henry Homeyer is a gardening writer and columnist. His new book is titled, “The New Hampshire Gardner’s Companion: An Insider’s Guide to Gardening in the Granite State.”