Tom the Tomato Man

So last week, I smugly planted all my seeds, expecting they would all pop up in a matter of days as they generallyoften, occasionally do.. no-one likes a smug gardener though, do they? First, Benson-the-enthusiastic-gardener-puppy (otherwise known as That Bloody Dog) dug up all the tomato seeds. I haven't had a dog and a spring garden before. Well, now I know. Also, I was thriftily using up all my old seed packets, and the only seeds that the dog didn't find, the zucchinis, still aren't up yet (Best Before 2013). Fingers crossed. The only gardening success I have had this week is with the two packets of fresh seed I planted, lettuce and snap peas, in nice tall dog-proof planters. Thank goodness for that..

But the tomatoes! What to do? In autumn my friend Karlin and I visited a local gardener to buy some sauce tomatoes for making passata. His name is Tom. He is over ninety years old, and every year he grows dozens of tomato plants in his suburban back yard, and sells hundreds of kilos of tomatoes in the summer and autumn. What I didn't know is that in Spring he also grows hundreds of tomato plants from saved seed and sells them to local gardeners. I discovered this from the sign in his front yard when I walked past with the dog this week.

Well, wasn't this a serendipitous discovery? And while walking the tomato-eradicating dog too. Ironic. So I bought a dozen tomato seedlings. And seriously, if you live locally, you should too. I have never seen such healthy plants. All individually potted up, half a dozen different varieties, just bursting with health. Usually Tom takes them to Evandale Market over three weekends in the Spring, and sells them all there, but recently he tripped over the sill of his green-house, and has torn a ligament in his arm, so can't drive... and he needs to sell fifteen hundred tomato seedlings. Do pop over - 35 Amy Rd, Newstead. His is the house closest to the road - if you head up the driveway you will no doubt find Tom pottering about in the backyard. If not, bang on the door. He asked me to tell my friends.. so, friends, go buy a tomato plant from Tom.


Jo - I wish I lived a bit closer. Tom sounds like a real treasure I would happily buy many tomato seedlings from him. We are actually having a good tomato crop in our garden at the moment. Must have been planted at right time for a change - and no dog diggers! cheers Wendy
Jo said…
Oh, well done you! Yes, to me, the take away message here is - if a ninety year old man can grow tomatoes for half the neighbourhood, plus all his other vegies for home consumption, in a normal backyard, then I need to just get on and plant!
narf7 said…
I planted at the same time that you did. I have a few weedy specimens that grew and thanks to a combination of seeds that probably aren't going to germinate ("Fool me once ebay!" :( ) and suspicious nibbling activity (note to self "look up how to terrify possums at will") I don't have much to show for my activities either. I am going to jot down Tom's address and head to his house with gusto later on today. I needs me some of Tom's finest for Serendipity Farm. Serendipitous AND Serendipity in one fell swoop Ms Jo. Thank you for the wonderful share. I will pass that info on. I am guessing that through word of mouth, Tom is going to be the new Bunnings of the street :).
I fear I must remain loyal to my tomato man - dad! :-)
Jo said…
Fran, I am so pleased! Enjoy your lovely tomatoes, hope they didn't all blow away today - what a gale!

e, I understand, family loyalty - plus, a rather long drive! How wonderful to have a generous gardening dad:)
gretchenjoanna said…
It's certainly a healthy plant you've shown us! What varieties of tomatoes do you grow there in Tasmania?
Jo said…
GJ, this year I have Mortgage Lifter, which I believe originated in the US. Giant tomatoes. Also Grosse Lisse, reliable classic. Tigerella has stripes, and is very tasty. Mama mia, which I haven't tried before, but is more like a Roma, and Tommy Toe, the very best cherry tomato.

I am so thrilled, because in just over a week the plants have put on inches of growth, and now have flowers!
Anonymous said…
Hope the tommies will be ready for consumption early January! I look forward to some!

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