So I sprouted a tomato. From another tomato. Has anyone else had this happen or tried this? Because I didn't try to do this, it was really an accident. (Albeit, a serendipitous and biologically interesting one.) Let me explain.
Often when I buy tomatoes on the vine, either from the local farmers market or the grocery store, I keep them on the windowsill in my kitchen until I am ready to use them for a salad or otherwise. I generally eat them pretty quickly, because I love tomatoes; however, occasionally they will bask in the sun for longer periods of time, which either makes them more ripe, or makes them start to get rotten. Boo. The latter has only happened a handful of times, and always seems to be when I am super busy and forget my little friends there on the sill. I feel really sad and ashamed to know I have wasted produce and missed out a sweet tomato warm from the sun.
Well one of these busy times, I was getting ready for work in the morning and a lone forgotten tomato seemed to wave at me and say, "Hello! I hope you haven't forgotten about me over here!" At first when I looked at it, I was worried it might be past its peak and destined for the garbage. But then I was both worried and intrigued by something different: there was clearly a thing underneath the waxy skin. Was it an insect? An alien growth? Whereas someone else might have thrown the whole thing away, the scientist in me could not let this go without further investigation.
I took a small paring knife and made little incision in the skin where I could see something underneath. It was green. It was smooth. It was not moving. Much to my surprise, the alien growth looked suspiciously like the stem of a plant! I wasn't too sure if that is what I was really seeing, so I put it back on the sill and went to work; by the time I got home, the stem had straightened up, and a little plant with two dark green leaves was sticking out of the top of the tomato! From a biological standpoint, I suppose the seeds inside must have germinated with the warmth from the sun, and water and "food" from the tomato flesh. I thought this was incredibly cool. Over the next week or so, more little plants started poking through the top of the skin (with aid from one kitchen scientist and her knife). I eventually cut the whole thing open so I could try to transplant them into soil, and the whole tomato was filled with sprouted seeds.
I was thrilled that they took so well to the transplantation, and I eventually had to thin out the plants because they were growing too well. I ended up leaving five plants in the pot, with the thought that a few would outgrow the others and I would keep just those; but, ALL of them started growing like crazy, sometimes an half an inch a day! The biggest plants are almost five feet tall now, and still growing. Now I am no gardening expert, but I am 100% positive that this is too many plants to keep in one pot... By some gardening magic they just keep growing despite these crowded conditions.
These plants make me happy. Sooooo happy. I lovingly tend to them, and they feed my soul with their growth. (And will eventually feed my tummy with their harvest.) It has been so exciting watching my little babies sprout up, bloom with yellow sunshine, and grow tiny little green tomatoes.
I am always giving my boyfriend updates on my tomatoes, and hopefully I can keep you in the loop too. I have some other plants and herbs, so look for more gardening posts here soon. And come mid-summer, it will be harvest time!!! I can't wait to make lots of delicious dishes with these home-grown beauties.
Do you have a favorite recipe you like to make with ripe summer tomatoes? Share it with me! I will probably have hundreds of tomatoes from these prolific plants, and I am excited to try out new things and re-create old favorites.