Back in March, I embarked on what was to become a very fruitful journey. Literally. After a poor crop back in 2019, I managed this year to amass almost 300 tomato plants in what ended up being Part One of my project, which I then gave away to my neighbours and my local food bank in Part Two of my project.
A wonderful problem that I now have is the six tomato plants I kept for myself are producing masses of fruit, and I don't enough meals in the day to eat them! Where normally I would give my excess tomatoes to my neighbours, I can't in this instance because they all have their own plants from the same crop - because they were gifts from me! I'm continually in awe of how nature has a propensity to just keep giving and that one tomato seed can produce such a huge amount of fruit.
I've got chutney, pasta sauce and am eating salad every day at the moment. I actually feel great, which is a lovely side effect of this project. As someone who likes to stay busy and also likes to ride the wave of momentum when there is one to be ridden, the next question I ask myself is - now what?
Yes, now what?
My aim next year is to essentially get as many people growing plants as possible. I've been harvesting seeds from my own tomato crop this year (I've found a really good guide to this HERE) because essentially I would really like my own tomato projects to be self-fulfilling. I'll start hoarding my recycling to repurpose as pots a bit earlier this year, as well as put out a message on the local council ward's WhatsApp group asking people to give me pots in return for a plant. I'm sure my partner will love the fact that he won't be able to see his power tools for a mountain of pots...
We now have an amazing Fresh Food Bank local to us, and I'm fully aiming to give them lots of plants next year. I will probably still give plants away to my neighbours because I work on the logic that if you want to live in a nice neighbourhood, start by being nice to your neighbours. With my son now at school, it would be lovely to do a project with him and his classmates, as I've heard that children with autism have a tendency to have an affinity with nature and the natural world - I've seen that in bucketloads when I've taken him to the coast. I'm also planning a partnership with a charity, as while the benefits of this project are enormous in its current guise, why not aim higher and raise money for a great cause?
And as for keeping up momentum...
I've gained so much personally from doing this project. At the beginning of lockdown, I'd just planted the seeds and had no idea of the shitstorm that was to blast across the country. Losing work overnight because of the pandemic was hard to take, but I had my tomato plants and volunteer work to keep me busy. It made me realise that perspective is everything, and you can still continue to grow as long as you have the right things to help you thrive. For me now, work is slowly but surely returning. The tomato plants continue to produce fruit as I feed them. And next year will be better - because you have to believe that it's going to be, right?
If you want to join me in my mission to get people growing, I would love to hear from you.