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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

This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.

Description

Bill Alexander had no idea that his simple dream of having a vegetable garden and small orchard in his backyard would lead him into life-and-death battles with groundhogs, webworms, weeds, and weather; midnight expeditions in the dead of winter to dig up fresh thyme; and skirmishes with neighbors who feed the vermin (i.e., deer). Not to mention the vacations that had to be planned around the harvest, the near electrocution of the tree man, the limitations of his own middle-aged body, and the pity of his wife and kids. When Alexander runs (just for fun!) a costbenefit analysis, adding up everything from the live animal trap to the Velcro tomato wraps and then amortizing it over the life of his garden, it comes as quite a shock to learn that it cost him a staggering $64 to grow each one of his beloved Brandywine tomatoes. But as any gardener will tell you, you can't put a price on the unparalleled pleasures of providing fresh food for your family.

From Publishers Weekly

Nov 21, 2005 – When the author of this hilarious horticultural memoir plants a large vegetable garden and a small orchard on his Hudson Valley farmstead, he finds himself at odds with almost all creation. At the top of the food chain are the landscaping contractors, always behind schedule, frequently derelict, occasionally menacing. Then there are the herds of deer that batter the electrified fence to get at Alexander's crop, and the groundhog who simply squeezes between the wires, apparently savoring the 10,000-volt shocks. Most insidious are the armies of beetles, worms, maggots and grubs that provoke Alexander, initially an organic-produce zealot, into drenching his entire property with pesticides. He braves these trials, along with hours of backbreaking labor and the eye-rolling of his wife and children, for the succulence of homegrown food. He also manages to maintain a sense of humor, riffing on everything from the ugliness of garden ornaments to the politics of giving away vegetables to friends. Alexander's slightly poisoned paradise manages to impart an existential lesson on the interconnectedness of nature and the fine line between nurturing and killing.

Customer Reviews

Quick read..entertaining

As I start my own gardens, although smaller, in a new home...this book brought a lot of laughters and "I totally get what you're going through" moments. I highly recommend it. It's a quick read and insightful. Occasionally. Feel like he repeats himself but all in all a great book.

Gardening must

I have read this book no less than 10 times. Bill Alexander is one of the most disarming authors I have ever read. The story is so human, so flawed, and yet so relevant, it would be hard not to relate. I live in an apartment and cannot have a kitchen garden like you can in Hudson valley, but even I could relate my trials of trying to grow herbs in San Francisco to the problems of the $64 dollar tomato. Even if you don't garden it's still funny and charming to no end.

The $64 Tomato
View in iTunes
  • $9.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Biographies & Memoirs
  • Published: Mar 02, 2007
  • Publisher: Algonquin Books
  • Seller: Workman Publishing Co., Inc.
  • Print Length: 304 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings