Gardnin Tips From a Texas Hoer – Updated

Did I spell that right? Oh, well, y’all know what I mean—or soon will.

I told y’all earlier this week about pickin’ that first tomato, and manwas it good! We’re on our way to Borger, and we left those four you can see in the background of the picture ripening on the vine. They ought to be mighty fine eatin’ when we get back on Sunday!

I just came back in from tending to my tomatoes, and I decided it would be only fair for me to pass along some things I’ve learned about gardnin—growing things.

As most of you know—then again, maybe most of you don’t know—the tomatoes you buy in grocery stores these days are usually picked while they’re still green, and by the time they get to the store shelf, they’ve turned red. To say they have ripened might not be true, because most of them don’t have much flavor.

That’s why I have over the years attempted to grow my own tomatoes. By doing so, I can let them fully ripen on the vine—if the dern birds don’t get them first—and enjoy what is known as vine-ripened tomatoes. If you’ve never had one, you don’t know what you’re missing!

I have done this gardnin off and on for many years, and last year—about mid-season—I learned a few things about growing tomatoes that I’d not heard of before. Ever in search of a better way to do most anything, I have put two of the tips to test this year, and so far, by golly, they appear to be working. I figured the least I could do is pass them along to you fine folks.

The first tip I learned was that when you buy a plant to transplant into your garden or planter, you should look for the plants that are still small and have no blooms on them. All the years before this one, I bought the biggest plants with the most blossoms on them, and even looked for those with tomatoes already growing on them. This year, I did as the tip suggested, and the four plants I have are growing like crazy! Just goes to show you!

The second tip came after I had read in a novel how an old lady used to go out periodically as her tomato plants began to blossom, and whip them with a coat hanger. In the novel, it didn’t say why she did this, or what the result was. My curiosity led me to do an Internet search, and I’ll be darned if there wasn’t something to it.

I found several articles that said a gentle tapping of the blooms—using a pencil or small stick—on a tomato plant would aid in the bloom becoming a tomato. The reason is that the male and female gizmo of a tomato bloom are both in the one flower, and a gentle disturbing of the bloom will cause the flower to make a tomato. I’m sure I didn’t say all that the way it was said by the pros, but you can look it up, if you don’t care for my translation. By the way, I think whipping the plants with a coat hanger would be a little harsh and probably knock the blooms off.

In any case, I have over three dozen tomatoes on my four plants right now, and it’s only May. To top it off, I picked my first big ol’ tomato a couple of days ago, and when we get back from our Borger book signing, we will be picking two or three more! We’re looking at a bumper crop here, folks!!

Feel free to share these tips with your friends and kin folk, and tell them you got them from your favorite Texas hoer!


  1. Gary Williams said

    Are you going to sell all your extra produce? Charlie Greenthumb Mashburn! I bet old Jewell Turner would be proud of you?

    • Hey! I’m fine, as long as vehicles of any kind are NOT involved! I’ll send ya a tomato in the mail.

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