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Published: Saturday, 9/1/2012

COMMENTARY

Local man's Big Boy tomatoes live up to namesake

BY KELLY HEIDBREDER
BLADE COLUMNIST

Despite the drought and roller coaster temperatures this summer, some of you are reporting monster size plants. Marge Grosjean swears her friend Jim Henderson is growing a tomato plant that is related to Jack's bean stalk!

"It's taller than I am," she said. "It just doesn't even look like a tomato plant because it is so huge. I have never seen anything like it."

Mr. Henderson's Big Boy tomato plant is more than six feet tall and about ten feet in diameter. It is loaded with green tomatoes right now and he is expecting a bumper crop in a couple weeks. He lives on Whiteford Road in Bedford Township and says everything in his 25-foot-by-50 foot garden grows well.

"I don't use any chemicals on my garden or yard. But I always toss leaves and grass clippings in my garden," he said. Mr. Henderson also has a backyard pond and tosses any debris from the pond on his garden when he cleans it.

"It already has nice black, sandy dirt and I add to it. At the end of the season, I just cut everything back and till it under in the spring," he said. "I have a tomato cage under there, but it stands on its own now. I'm sure that cage isn't needed."

Mrs. Grosjean bought a few tomato plants and other vegetables at her local store and shared the seedlings with Mr. Henderson. "I got a little bit of a late start," he said. "I planted them in my garden about the second week in June."

But that didn't stop his giant plant. In just six weeks it was about four feet tall and now towers over six feet. "It is still growing," Marge said. "I have the same plants in my yard in Walbridge and they are only about a foot tall."

Marge gets a little of the credit because she keeps it watered regularly, proving that you need to give Mother Nature a hand every once in a while. "If this keeps up, he will have to use a ladder to pick the tomatoes," Mrs. Grosjean said.

Contact Kelly Heidbreder at getgrowing@gmail.com.



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