Friday, February 6, 2015

$64 Tomato Book Review

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 by William Alexander was on my list for a long time.  I read another book (52 Loaves) by the same author which I loved his writing style so this was on my list to check out.  I am glad that I finally got it off my reserve list at the library and got a chance to read it.  I almost forgot why it was on my list but I realized it as soon as I read the first page.

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.

I loved the writing and the funny stories.  It is amazing how the author works the stories of his everyday life into the story of gardening.  There are stories about his house, kids and wife as well as job and other things outside the house like interaction with the employees at local garden store.  Every time he gets into another situation, you are waiting to find out what is going to happen because it is never what is expected.  Can it be said that there is part mystery in the way that he writes because you are waiting to find out what is destroying his sod and how is he going to find out before the sod dies.  It is amusing and funny and I can't wait to check out other books by this author because all his adventures are filled with great stories.  His writing makes you feel like you know his family and might even be one of his friends listening to his stories.  I hope that you pick this up at your local library or bookstore and check it out for yourself!!  Let me know what you think!!


  1. I might read this at some point as I am a gardener myself... and it's definitely NOT saving me money, although I do cheat and report that "I've saved money by harvesting my own lettuce" on my blog. However, I have been tracking every gardening expense in Excel for a couple of years and I'd have to harvest a whole lot more than I do to even break even. But, as you said, there is a certain satisfaction to harvesting a tomato from a plant you grew from seed, and that is priceless :)

    1. I am a horrible gardener and only got tomatoes when they grew from the previous owners old tomato plants. I spent tons of money and the animals got to enjoy all of it. I need to try at the new house and see what I can do there!!


Thank you for visiting my blog today! I really appreciate any input or ideas so add your comment below.