“If all mankind were to disappear, the world would generate back to the rich state of equilibrium that existed ten thousand years ago. If insects were to vanish, the environment would collapse into chaos” –Edward O. Wilson
I lived in Southeast Alaska for many years of my adult life. Tomatoes could not be grown easily, if at all, outside, and summers were cool and rainy. Bees were scarce.
In early spring the Oregon garden began as a cool, featureless plot of dirt. Now it’s transformed into an array of colorful blooms—great and small, and all of them provide pollen for bees and other insects. My bee feed garden feels like my greatest garden success so far this year. The platter sized sunflower blossoms are covered with honeybees, native bees, and other small insects. And bees fly leisurely from poppy to coreopsis to blue flax gathering pollen and nectar.
A seasonal parade blooms in succession: wallflowers, bergamot, various tiny and large poppies, aster, coreopsis, blue fax, gilia, alyssum, hyssop, forget-me-not, and daisy. The blue star blossom of the herb borage proves irresistible for bees and bumblebees; although, the herb fades by mid-summer, so other enticing flowers must take its place.
Besides the bee-feed flowers I’m growing tomatoes for the second time. Last year herbicides destroyed my plants, so this is my first year to actually see fruit. I also have many questions.
Eleven plants and three different types of tomatoes—gold cherry tomatoes, big fat slicers and plum tomatoes—if they ripen at different times, will I have enough ripe tomatoes at one time to can up a batch of eight or more pints? Really I want twenty pints. I’m growing my own tomatoes to dehydrate and can a year’s worth. Should I have planted a few cherry tomato plants for fresh eating and planted all the rest in the same variety, so I would have one big batch? And, is this really worth all the energy to grow my own tomatoes when I can buy farm stand tomatoes and, lots of them, to preserve? Bruce says I will have so many tomatoes by September I won’t have time to can them all. Right now it ‘s July, and I can’t imagine this. Ripe July tomatoes are trickling in.
Author’s Note: August 14th canned 4 pints of tomatoes.