As further proof that all Harrietts are fond of tomatoes, a lovely reader named Harriett reports her perfect 'grapes' have won first prize in the small fruited tomatoes category at the Champaign County Fair, Illinois. And indeed they are beauties.
Pictured are also her onions, which abdicated to some slightly larger specimens, and an eggplant that did not qualify due to its nose. Last year, she says, one of her eggplants grew such a large protrusion she named it "Jimmy Durante". It's picture was displayed in the local newspaper.
Harriett broke her gardening hiatus five years ago, drawing on a childhood spent growing and preserving things from her parents yard. She's won first prize in some vegetable category almost every year since, including eggplant, pickling cucumbers, and zucchini. "The secret is Arabian horse poop, " she reveals. "We have two."
Homegrown composted horse manure is the only fertilizer she uses. She also buys good plants, she says, and adds a new crop each year. This year, her "big garden adventure is the san Marzano tomatoes" she started with seeds from Italy. Now she's made a batch of tomato confit. Her motivation? "Nostalgia, competitiveness, and good food."