By Tina Jordan
April 07, 2006 at 04:00 AM EDT

After he and his family move to a dilapidated old house on New York’s Hudson River, William Alexander tackles his mammoth garden plot with zeal. One day, contemplating a ”ripe, heart-size Brandywine tomato,” he decides to calculate just how much it cost him to produce. Totaling his expenses — manure, seeds, edging — he arrives at the astounding figure of $64. And yet, despite the cost, despite the hours spent weeding, mulching, and outsmarting groundhogs, Alexander — like most hopeful gardeners — knows he’ll do it again. The $64 Tomato may not stack up against green-thumb classics like Jamaica Kincaid’s My Garden, but it’s engaging, funny, and down-to-earth.

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