The $64 Tomato

The $64 Tomato

Book - 2006
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Bill Alexander had no idea that his simple dream of having a vegetable garden and small orchard in his backyard would lead him into life-and-death battles with groundhogs, webworms, weeds, and weather; midnight expeditions in the dead of winter to dig up fresh thyme; and skirmishes with neighbors who feed the vermin (i.e., deer). Not to mention the vacations that had to be planned around the harvest, the near electrocution of the tree man, the limitations of his own middle-aged body, and the pity of his wife and kids. When Alexander runs (just for fun!) a costbenefit analysis, adding up everything from the live animal trap to the Velcro tomato wraps and then amortizing it over the life of his garden, it comes as quite a shock to learn that it cost him a staggering $64 to grow each one of his beloved Brandywine tomatoes. But as any gardener will tell you, you can't put a price on the unparalleled pleasures of providing fresh food for your family.
Publisher: Chapel Hill, NC : Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, c2006
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9781565125032
1565125037
Branch Call Number: 635.09 ALE NVD

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cmlibrary_myork Dec 23, 2015

As any gardener knows, if a garden’s success is measured solely by its bottom line, then very few successful gardens exist. Such is the case in The $64 Tomato, in which author William Alexander battles critters and the land to produce, among other things, his beloved heirloom Brandywine tomatoes. This is an engagingly written story that stretches from the purchase of the author’s house (a serious fixer-upper) through several years of garden harvests. Along the way, there is a marauding groundhog, midnight canning, homemade pasta and a series of other horticultural adventures. And, of course, this story is even better if you, too, have experienced the singular joys (and frustrations) of tending your own garden.

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whyschild
Jul 22, 2012

Less a memoir about gardening (and definitely not a real discussion about the costs of conventional or organic gardening), this is an enjoyable read about one man's obsessive quest for a backyard that produces delicious fruits and vegetables but is also - first and foremost, it seems - PRETTY. While I found the book (and Alexander) likeable, the whole premise of the book - a valiant struggle against garden pests and weeds - fell a bit flat once the author more or less stated that all his problems would be solved if he a) installed a chainlink fence around his garden, and b) put down plastic and mulch over his garden beds to eliminate weeds. He would do neither of these things, however, because they were not PRETTY. Inspiring garden memoir this is not. But it is often funny.

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