The $64 Tomato: How One Man Nearly Lost his Sanity, Spent a Fortune, and Endured an Existential Crisis in the Quest for the Perfect Garden
William Alexander had a simple dream of having a vegetable garden and small orchard in his backyard. It was a dream that would lead to life-and-death battles with groundhogs, webworms, and weeds; midnight expeditions in the dead of winter to dig up fresh thyme; skirmishes with neighbors who feed the vermin (i.e., deer); the near electrocution of the tree man; and the pity of his wife and children.
When Alexander decided to run a cost-benefit analysis, adding up everything from the Havahart animal trap ($60) to the Velcro tomato wraps ($5) to the steel edging ($1,200), then amortizing it over the life of his garden, it came as quite a shock to learn that it cost him a staggering $64 to grow each tomato.
A gardener with an existential bent, Alexander gives excellent advice about everything from peaches to leeks, while tackling such questions as What do our gardens tell us about ourselves? Do we get the gardens we deserve? And why does the groundhog have to take one bite from half a dozen tomatoes when any gardener would gladly grant him six bites of just one?
About the Author(s)
WILLIAM ALEXANDER has been gardening and small-scale farming for over twenty-five years. He lives with his wife and their two children in New York’s Hudson Valley.
This Book Will Grow On You!, September 17, 2006
What a riot, an absolute riot…and yet strangely quixotic as well! Here we enter the realm of one man’s passion for gardening, which at times borders on obsession. The $64 Tomato is the tale of Alexander’s journey from homeowner with a few tomatoes to homeowner with a huge garden and small orchard, a goal that was achieved through hard work, healthy dose of hilarity (rather at the author’s expense), and a constant battle with nature and all the her many critters. This is not a how to book, it’s not chock full of handy tips and hints on how to grow/build/create the perfect garden…this is more of a memoir…a record of his particular journey from the very start of his passion for this garden and all the many foibles it involves.
What could be a very dull and boring topic (come on, it’s GARDENING) is a touching, funny, sad, rewarding, and challenging exploration of gardening with more than that coming out in the process, this book also explores the very nature of human beings…you don’t just get the story of the garden, we get the story of the man, the story of the family, the story of the many gardeners and contractors involved, and the story of the bugs/animals who covet what Alexander has created and all of this is wrapped in an emotionally riveting and quite humorous package. The $64 Tomato will not disappoint!