Saturday, June 25, 2011

Attack of the Killer Tomatoes

The first year after we built our compost bin, some "volunteers" popped up in front of it in the spring—a couple of tomato plants that had apparently seeded themselves from tomato remnants that we'd tossed in the bin.  We put up tomato cages around them, but the vines quickly grew over the tops of the cages and sprawled all over the side yard, making it nearly impossible to walk past.  We got a fair number of tomatoes off those volunteer plants, but they weren't particularly good tomatoes—no better than what you'd buy in the supermarket—and I decided that even for no-cost, no-cultivation tomatoes, they weren't worth the trouble.

So the following year, I ruthlessly pulled out all the tomato plants that popped up in the area around the compost bin.  And what should pop up in their place but a massive butternut squash vine that sprawled clear across the asparagus beds and even managed to thrust its way through the fence into the back yard, its huge prickly leaves nearly obstructing the path.  That plant gave us close to a dozen squashes—our entire crop, as it turned out, since the ones I actually planted in the garden didn't produce anything—but I still found it a major pain in the butt.  I figured that if squash could grow that well in the side yard, we ought to be able to grow it in the actual garden with a bit of effort, rather than putting up with interlopers spreading themselves all across our path.

So this year, what happens?  What else—we get tomatoes and squash, filling up the entire space between the compost bin and the asparagus bed.  And if I don't do something about about them soon, I can expect them to turn into the Vegetables that Ate Cincinnati.  Help!
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