The summer heat has been sweltering of late and there’s been little rain, but the weather hasn’t bothered Stacey Gray’s tomato plants one bit.
Gray’s tomato plants on Lee Street in Blackshear have grown 8-9 feet tall this summer and are producing more tomatoes than he can harvest and put up.
Gray has canned at least 20 jars of stewed tomatoes this season and his plants are still bearing fruit with no end in sight.
“I’m kind of getting tired of putting up tomatoes now. I’m eating tomatoes I put up five or six years ago,” Gray says with a laugh.
Gray ties the tomato plants lining his front walkway to old bed rails, and
they’re nearly too tall for the metal rails this year. He’s considering how to extend his stakes.
Gray, who grew up here, moved off for awhile but returned home in the ‘90s, says he’s been gardening “about all my life.”
His biggest complaint is the insects that threaten to ruin his prized plants and veggies before they ripen.
“I be in and out all day and night trying to keep the insects away from them,” Gray gripes.
Every year brings something different though — last year Gray only harvested nine tomatoes from his garden.
“Last year I did bad with tomatoes,” he says.
But, this summer his peppers and watermelons haven’t turned out at all.
Whatever the result, Gray will keep toiling away in his corner garden on Lee Street. He seems at peace among the towering tomato plants and peanut crop serving as ground cover for his front yard. He’ll harvest those this fall.