Some time ago, I picked what I thought was the last tomato of the season, and then half-way tore out what was left of the plant. I left behind a somewhat woody stalk, deeply rooted and too troublesome to bother with. I figured I’d wait until I was ready to turn the garden over in spring, when things would be easier to deal with.
But around late February, the dead-looking tomato stalk began to sprout leaves. Around the same time, I put out a healthy layer of manure throughout the garden in time for the spring rains. By April, the tomato stalk was tall and gangly, fully blossomed and green.
Today, I picked the first tomato of the season, from last season’s tomato plant. It had a case of blossom-end rot, but the good part of the tomato was tasty. I’ve never grown a tomato plant as a perennial before, and never even considered that it could be possible. Yet it works, I think. Some of the new tomatoes coming in are oddly shaped, almost heart-shaped, and I have no idea why. Is it because of the blossom-end rot? Did the tomato plant mutate somehow? In any event, growing tomato plants as perennials has totally changed my way of thinking about vegetable gardening. Are there other vegetables that do this? Which ones?