Archive for August, 2010

A Tomato Just Wants to Be a Tomato


I read a book about the Amish way of life earlier this year and it’s had me thinking about the simple way lately.  I’ve never but much of a gardener nor had any thumb remotely close to any shade of green, but this simple way thinking has ignited a longing to grow things.  There’s something about the time, dedication, and knowledge required to successfully grow things, especially in the dry mountains at 8,000 ft in elevation.  There’s an analogy to life and especially to cultivating growth in those for which we care – be it our children, pets, students, or others who come our way.

So, I ventured to grow things this year including tomatoes, jalapeno, and several herbs.  I’m happy to report that all have turned out to be successful (well, except for the still-unhappy-cilantro).  The thing is, it didn’t start out this way.  Several of the plants were unhappy and I had to adjust various elements like sun, water, planting logistics, and even proximity to other plants.  For example, the jalapeno looked like a dead twig sticking out of the dirt, but I kept adjusting, gave it some time (and love), and now he’s happily producing with at least 15 soon-to-be peppers on board!

While chatting about gardening with my neighbor this morning, she tells me about an Old Wives Tale that you have to walk on the radish plants if you want the radishes to grow to a decent size.  We didn’t know that this is what they needed in order to reach their full potential, but it really works.  It’s just like people.  Not every person is alike.  Each is unique and needs to be treated uniquely in order to reach their full potential.  There are patterns that we can discover that will help us to better understand how to help, how to cultivate those in our care.  Just like there are varieties of tomatoes – once we learn about that pattern, it will help us to cultivate any tomato plant, but each varietal may require unique tweaking.

A tomato is destined to be a tomato and it will become more like itself, it will fulfill its destiny, it will achieve its personal legend (to borrow from The Alchemist) if it has the right support and environment in which to thrive.  It just wants to be a tomato!