I received the AARP magazine in the mail. Now there is a publication I never thought I would receive, much less enjoy. I can’t imagine being in a position to retire. When I’m too old to drive, I will probably have to ride a bicycle dragging my tools along in a little trailer.
At any rate, the article which caught my attention was called The Food That Cures (Almost) Everything. Who knew that the tomato had so many good qualities? I had been under the impression that because the tomato was a member of the deadly nightshade family it wasn’t so good for you. I had read somewhere that peppers, eggplants, potatoes and tomatoes could enhance symptoms of arthritis.
Now, more than a few studies show that the fruit (it is classified as both fruit and vegetable) guards against some cancers and may reduce risk of heart disease, osteoporosis and even diabetes. In one study, drinking 13 ounces of tomato juice daily for three weeks lowered LDL (so-called “bad” cholesterol levels) by 13 per cent.
I never eat tomatoes in the off-season with the exception of my canned sauce. They cannot grow a decent one down South and ship it here with any flavor intact. I’d rather waste my money on a brownie from the Scottish Bakehouse. It is way more enjoyable.
I am so far behind in my own vegetable garden that I still have some tomatoes languishing in flats. Hopefully I will free them this weekend. I grow quite a few varieties. Several types are the old-fashioned heirlooms — Brandywine, Caspian pink, mortgage lifter, and striped Roman. They are all indeterminate. They will continue producing until a freeze in the fall stops them.
Then I grow a large patch of the determinate variety. These are the pastes suitable for processing into mason jars. San Marzano, Roma. Nichols, and Prescott are heavy producers — all at once. They do not require staking as do the larger heirlooms. I mulch with hay and leave them alone. An occasional dose of Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis, sold as Dipel and other brand names) keeps the tomato hornworm at bay.
Marie and I are going crazy with our use of kaolin clay. We purchased two enormous bags last year — one from Fedco and the other from Planet Natural. It is sold under the brand name Surround. It is the main ingredient in Kaopectate for what that’s worth. Last year we clogged up several sprayers with the very fine powder and therefore had limited success. This year we are dumping some in a watering can and running up and down the rows. It does not kill the bugs but makes the plant unpleasant to eat.
Kaolin was first used in apple orchards as an organic remedy for curcilio and apple borer. You may have noticed a white tint to organic produce? It takes several rainfalls to wash off the plant so reapplication is not necessary for several weeks. Our method is anything but scientific but we will let you know the results. We are dosing our potatoes heavily as the Colorado potato beetle is here in force.
“What was he thinking?” My (female) friends have been asking this about the Internet sexual antics of Rep. Anthony Weiner. We could ask the same question of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Mark Sanford, John Ensign, John Edwards, Eliot Spitzer, Newt Gingrich, Bill Clinton, et cetera ad nauseum. Sara Lipton has an interesting take on the subject in a New York Times op-ed entitled Those Manly Men of Yore. The idea that power accentuates the lusty nature is relatively new. For most of western history the most valued characteristic of manhood was self-mastery. Rampant sexuality was something men were supposed to grow out of! While we do not wish to revive medieval misogyny, it would serve our elected officials to grow beyond endless adolescence. Conversely, why, oh why, must we hear about all these extramarital escapades endlessly?