MICHAEL J. LACIVITA Tomatoes, peppers gave us sustenance
Each year my small vegetable garden consisting exclusively of tomato and pepper plants reminds me of my Great Depression days. These two mainstays were life sustaining for our family, since my father, Giovanni, planted about 300 tomato and 100 pepper plants.
I marvel at these wonders of nature. The seeds from both plants look indistinguishable. Each seed contains a storehouse of energy. For the past 10 consecutive years, I have raised 6 foot Laparie pepper plants, averaging about 15 peppers per plant. My record setting plant had 25 peppers weighing a total of eight pounds.
I try to analyze the great production of today's tomato and pepper plants compared to my father's time. I believe fertilization plays a big part. Every few years, Giovanni, was able to afford a load of organic gold (horse manure). I have been using Scott's Miracle-Gro fertilizer as far back as I can remember and attribute most of my success to it.
In addition to producing beautiful tomatoes and peppers, the tiny seeds yield the huge stalks to support them as well as the leaves to shade them. The color changes from green to red in these vegetables continues to amaze me. Another interesting feature are the yellow blossoms on tomato plants, while those of the pepper are white.
The above food for thought was passed on to my 14-year-old grandson, Patrick Krieger, and his best friend, Michael Dasu, a few weeks ago. They were my helpers as we harvested my first peppers of the season. They measured and weighed 15 peppers from one plant. Total weight was about three pounds. They also weighed about a dozen nice sized tomatoes. The largest one weighed 14 ounces. Patrick and Michael learned a down to earth lesson from Grandpa Michael Lacivita, just in time for them to go back to school.
X Michael J. Lacivita is a Youngstown retiree and an inductee into the Ohio Senior Citizen Hall of Fame.