At least the garden and I have new ways to fail each other every year. We’ve had the summer of growing amazingly tall and not producing fruit; we’ve been devoured by demon deer and giant booger worms; we’ve had soil of one part dirt and six parts gravel and sand. What we don’t generally have is home-grown tomatoes in my belly.

But we are stubborn! Five plants this year, augmented soil, grew nicely unmolested by the rogue neighborhood opossum. Produced hundreds of perfect yellow flowers, all but five of which determined to dry up and fall off before becoming fruit.

The internet suggested we’d over-nitrogened and should mulch. Also we needed to water more. Also it was too hot and all the bees were dead so we had to fertilize the flowers by hand using a q-tip or holding an electric toothbrush near the blossom. We tried these methods, even buying an electric toothbrush secondhand, which, gross.

But the tomato gods still got their harvest o’ fail, just like every year. Summer ended, we mothballed our gardening dreams again. Then, in October, we discovered the plants had buckled down and gotten serious, suddenly producing 20 lil baby green fruits just in time to get killing-frosted.

Tomatoes are jerks.

Even after we picked the babies and took down the cages for a surprise hurricane, the plants are still at it, fruiting up, shall we say, a storm.

Failure ripens just fine on the kitchen counter, though, and fried green jerks are just delicious.