Giant Mutant Tomatoes from Our Space

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In retrospect, the fertilizer might not have been a good idea. Over the last few weeks, this summer’s garden plot has become a very scary place. We’ve been overrun by groping vines and in-your-face leaves. Melon sprawl and wall-to-wall carrot carnage. Sweet pea forests. Six-pound marbled orange beefsteaks. Eggplants that grow like Pinocchio’s nose, expanding by the second.

The only thing that’s not getting any bigger is the size of our garden space.

"Giant Mutant Tomatoes from Our Space" by Caryn Caldwell

A specimen from yesterday, pulled up with both hands. In case you thought I was exaggerating. But then, you know me. I never, ever exaggerate.

Give me strength. I fear I may not make it out alive the next time I venture in. Yesterday I barely escaped, stumbling onto the safety of the back patio with just a fistful of dirt-clotted weeds and most of my sanity. Today? Who knows. The lettuce is looking feisty, and the cucumbers have come of age. We may have a real fight on our hands.

Still, someone has to prune the pumpkins before the patch infests the neighborhood, so I’m going in. Soon as I re-tie my shoelaces. And adjust my sunglasses. And gas up the chainsaw. And any other delay tactics I can think of while still looking brave and unhesitant. I hear pumpkins can smell fear.

If you don’t see me staggering back out of this jungle by Thursday, Husqvarna in one hand, wide-brimmed hat in the other, shut off the sprinklers and send in the rescue crew. They’ll know what to do.

Oh, and if you’d like to help hack away the foliage, I’d be forever grateful. I hear the garden center has a nice pair of pruning shears they may let you use. I’m a good customer; surely they’ll share. Just sign this waiver right here, and we’ll get started.


P.S. Salad, anyone? There’s a feast for at least forty in here somewhere.

  • Gina C.

    I’ve always wanted to have a garden, but I can’t even keep a house plant alive! Good luck with the pumpkin patch! 🙂

    • Thanks, Gina! The garden was actually a bit of a surprise – but a fun one (if a little scary). We owe it to my husband. Since he took over watering duties, both our houseplants and garden have thrived.

  • I want some. Really, really badly. I didn’t have a garden this year, and I am suffering. Enjoy its bounty, Caryn!

    • Of course, you had an excuse since you were moving. I expect lots of produce from you next year, young lady. *sternface*

  • Whoa, that’s a heckuva carrot! I’m so jealous you have a garden. We have too many trees that hog the sun for any veggies to survive. But now that I read about your monstrous pumpkin vines, perhaps living without a garden ain’t so bad, no? 🙂

    • Some veggies do better in shade; perhaps you can go for those? And, yes, the carrot was a huge surprise – no pun intended. I maybe should have picked it a little earlier instead of letting it grow.

  • We’ve been in such a long term drought, I had to give up gardening and just do my best to keep my shrubs and trees alive. I’m so thrilled for you!

    • Maybe next year! May you have enough rain to get a good crop then, if you want it.

  • That is one honking huge carrot!!! We had a garden when the kids were growing up – they LOVE their veggies to this day 🙂 Good luck – if need be we’ll call in the troops!

    • Ooh! I hadn’t thought about that advantage. Of course, if you grow up eating garden fresh veggies, you see how good they can really taste. I still remember the taste of tomatoes and spinach straight from the garden when I was growing up. They’re not quite as good here, but still amazing.

  • Feed those to the kids and I’ll expect to see them in the Olympics sometime soon.

  • My husband would definitely be jealous. We’re overrun by rabbits this year and, as a result, our garden has been decimated. We do have an amazing crop of cucumbers, however.


    • Oh, no. It would be so disappointing to see all your hard work eaten like that. As for the cucumbers, though, they’re new to our garden, and they are SO GOOD! Store cucumbers are nothing like garden fresh ones, are they?

  • You are so lucky that your garden is still over-growing. While I was gone, a man that had helped me in my yard came in and cleared away most of my stuff. It killed me. I do still have okra, butterbeans and a few things…but be grateful for your over population. I’m trying to start some pumpkins. Hopefully they’ll be ready by November.

    • Oh, no! That would be devastating! Good luck with your pumpkins, and with the rest of your garden when you get it up and running again. The good thing is that there’s always next summer, and in the meantime there are farmers’ markets.

  • Good luck! That sounds frightening, yet delicious.

  • Aunt Sharon

    Did the birds arrive for Sunshine? I grow flowers not vegetables so haven’t experienced anything like you are experiencing! Love, Aunt Sharon