The green, overlaid with the silvery colour is elegant, sophisticated. It reminds me of the colour schemes favoured by ‘grown up’ interior decorators. I imagine aging socialites oohing and aahing over the same colour, presented as “this season’s” palette. These silvery-grey shadows sneak up the stems and tiptoe onto the leaves of my tomato plants. Having decimated the cucumbers and melons months ago the mildew has set its sights on the tomatoes. If I don’t act soon the green tomatoes will be ruined. Still I procrastinate. I dither. I look at them from the corner of my eye. I admire the colour and don’t look too closely at the impact on the last of the green tomatoes.
Green tomatoes make me sad. Actually its not all green tomatoes. How could a tomato, green or otherwise, make anyone sad after all? It’s these specific ones. The last ones of the season.
It’s April. If I don’t move soon and replace the dying tomatoes with the autumn vegetables I’ll be confined to growing only what is available as transplants from the nursery. I’ll miss the window for planting from seeds and thus for most of the heirloom varieties.
And green tomatoes are welcome in my house. I do a passable green tomato chutney.
But still. I read. I write. I weed other beds and treat the kale for mealy bug. I nag Chris (my younger son) to refurbish bird netting. I even complete my tax return. I do everything, in fact, except attend to those last green tomatoes.
Because when I harvest them I’ll be admitting to autumn and by extension winter. I’ll be admitting to the need for slippers. I’ll be inviting in the cold and the memory of lurching from heater to heater (all the time resisting the sane choice of wearing more layers).
Summer will be over.