The $64 Tomato

May 20, 2011 § Leave a comment

I found this book on clearance at a closing Border’s Store and since I’d heard of it before, I picked it up. The back was covered with endorsements from reputable sources.

“Engaging, funny and down to Earth,” said Entertainment Weekly.

“A delightful guide to achieving gardening bliss,” promised the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Since I was in one of those book-buying moods, I bought it for when I needed something light-hearted and easy. As one of the most bumbling gardeners I know, here was a book I could relate to, I thought. I could read the words of a fellow bumbler and laugh because, most likely, this gardener was worse than me. Hahaha. You know?

Let’s see…

Easy? Yes.

Light hearted? Sort of.

Laughing all the way? Depends what you mean.

Down to earth? Not a chance.

I’m still too overwhelmed to explain the issues William Alexander outlined in his book, but humor me while I try to get my point across. Here are a few of the snafus which contributed ultimately to his tomatoes costing $64 each.

  • His cost of seeds (1 season): $120
  • My cost of seeds (1 season): $20


  • His purchase of an electric fence, plus required supplies (allocated over the life of the system and averaged for 1 season): $320
  • My new “pest control” fence (made by Brad, thanks darlin’) $10


  • His Mulch: $150
  • My mulch: $64


I guess my point is, this guy is no small potatoes gardener. And he is also fussy and picky. As I was reading along, I was either thinking, “Yer fault. Yer fault. Yer choice to install that ridiculous fence.” Or I was thinking, “This guy has a peach orchard too!?” Never once did I think, “Oh man, I hear ya! I always forget to water my tomatoes…Sun dried on the vine? That’s a good one!…Too funny man!”

I mean. Not that I ever forget to water my tomatoes. Seriously!



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