Annette Short of Brighton is pictured with her 9’4” tomato plant Tuesday. Photo by Echo Day

At Eugene and Annette Short’s Brighton home, the tomatoes are tall.

“We’ve been married for 42 years and we’ve never planted tomatoes,” Annette said. “My husband said to just plant them in the front flower beds, so we did. We just thought we’d try it.”

And so they did.


The Big Boys went in and the plants grew and grew.

“They just started growing. I didn’t figure they’d grow that well, but they did.”

The plants grew as high as the porch rail, which she thought was pretty high, then they kept going.

“It’s so funny because when they got that tall, I took a picture. They grew for awhile, then kinda slacked off, then they just all of a sudden started growing again. They kept growing and growing and growing …”

Big Boy tomatoes usually reach a height of 4 or 5 feet, but most of hers have almost doubled that.

The tallest is now 9-feet, 4 inches tall. Its leaves nearly reach the eaves of the home.

It’s not the only tall one, either.

The tomato plants line the front of the house, behind the begonias. On the right side of the porch steps, more plants grow in front of a dark magenta hibiscus.

The only thing she’s used on them has been the insecticide Sevin Dust.

She likens their height to the famed vines from the story Jack and the Beanstalk.

“My husband said I baby them,” Annette said with a laugh.

So far they’ve had 10-15 tomatoes and another 29 are still on the vine. She and Eugene loved knowing they’ve grown the tomatoes themselves and are excited when they get to eat them.

“Especially the first one that we got. We took a picture of it.”

They’re going to continue to let the tomatoes grow this year, but whether they’ll try them again is up in the air.

“I guess we’ll see! Next year is next year.”

Echo Day
Author: Echo Day

Echo Day is an award-winning journalist, photographer and designer. She is currently The Leader's managing editor.