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I celebrated the Ides of March by planting six tomato plants. They look so lonely, spaced 18 inches apart with the relatively huge tomato cages looming over them. (Tomato cages also discourage animals from rolling, scratching and otherwise messing with the new plants).

It's hard to visualize, but in two months they will be halfway up the tomato cages, and I'll be poking in the side branches that always want to escape and try to suspend themselves in thin air. I guess that tomatoes in the wild are semi-vining, growing along the ground, and propagating themselves by bearing fruit at or near the ends of the branches.

These guys, however, will be donating most of their fruit to my table. Inevitably, a couple will end up dropping to the ground and sprouting into volunteer plants. Last year one of them found itself growing between the stones of the patio and I didn't have the heart to root it out. In the end, it was one of the most prolific of the plants.

Did you know the tomato is a New World plant, a member of the nightshade family (like the potato and eggplant)?

It's tomato season! I'll go back outside after lunch and see if I have any red, ripe tomatoes yet.

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