It's a seminal moment in the Backyard of Bird.
The first tomato of the 2009 season is now ripening in one of the main, raised planter beds. It's May 16th, and I have a tomato getting ripe in the backyard.
Unbelievable. I've never quite seen production like this before.
The first ripe tomato of 2009 from our North Natomas backyard is not a cherry tomato. It's a Bloody Butcher -- one of the many starter plants provided by Farmer Fred Hoffman earlier this year. And, actually, it's off one of the very first tomato plants that Venus and I put into the ground.
Others followed mere seconds later when we planted the first raised bed with eight tomato plants, but the Bloody Butcher was first to go into the ground.
It's now the first to produce a ripened tomato, or it soon will (we haven't picked it yet).
I wasn't expecting to see this quite this early in the season. I know that I've been blessed with early season production. That's been discussed in an earlier posting on the blog. The 16 tomato plants that Venus and I put into the ground five weeks ago are literally jumping out of the ground now, and continue to produce small tomatoes at a rapid rate.
Small tomatoes that are getting bigger.
But I never expected to see what I saw today. The moment came, as they always do, completely by accident. I was tending another part of the garden when I noticed a flash of red out of the corner of my eye. I nearly thought it was just another ladybug (we do have a lot of them), but when I saw that flash of color again, I knew instantly this was no ladybug.
If it had been, I would have been a bit frightened. That would be one big ladybug.
We won't make that mistake this year.
The first ripe tomato of the season isn't big enough for a salad. It might cover a standard hamburger or two with several slices, but that's about all. And it doesn't signal that more ripe tomatoes are on the way in May. At least -- I think it doesn't signal it.
Who knows what surprises the garden holds? For now -- I can tell you that the first ripe tomato of 2009 isn't a surprise -- nor is it a dream. It's reality.