It was back in early August, when the days were hot and long and the sun unforgiving, that it occurred to me to throw one final row of tomato plants into the ground. Normally my last succession of tomatoes would have gone in during the first week in July. Treading where I'd never gone before, I plunged the young plants into the reddish soil near the roadside on a hot afternoon. Would this simple act tell me if climate really is changing? Getting warmer? Will the plants have a story to tell? Could a final row offer a bit of redemption after a dismal tomato-growing season?
It was anything but a scientific experiment. No notes kept nor temperatures recorded. And last night's frost -- the second in as many nights -- put my little experiment out of its misery, but not until after it had produced a few weeks of wonderful heirlooms and then a few weeks of cooking quality 'maters. Was it a success? Who knows? I'd say it was more a taste of sweet redemption. A much needed elixir on the road to the next growing season.