<b>Murphy's Law strikes the garden</b>What gardener doesn't indulge in <i>schadenfreude</i> from the smug perch of an armchair in early spring, before their own epic mistakes come to roost in their exotics? <b>The $64 Tomato: How One Man Nearly Lost His Sanity, Spent a Fortune, and Endured an Existential Crisis in the Quest for a Perfect Garden</b> is a delicious ride through one man's seriocomic horticultural adventure: to create the most impressive garden ever to set off his historic, rundown old heap of a house in New York's Hudson Valley. And that man, William Alexander husband, father and director of technology by day meets his emotional and intellectual match while cultivating a few acres of fruits, vegetables, roses and cottage flowers. Encountering the jolly act of weeding more than 20 beds and trying to figure out how the sod mealworms got up the hill to his corn, his transformation to gentleman farmer well-versed in Murphy's Law is presented in chapters including One Man's Weed Is Jean-Georges's Salad, Nature Abhors a Meadow (But Loves a Good Fire), Statuary Rape, and Whore in the Bedroom, Horticulturist in the Garden. As Alexander cans peaches, learns to garden with his wife ( like trying to grow mint and horseradish in the same bed ), fights Japanese beetles and works with a gardener who looks and acts suspiciously like the actor Christopher Walken, readers will relate to his basic philosophical dilemma: am I becoming my garden, or is my garden becoming me? Through follies and mistakes and temper tantrums and bad decisions that reveal more about personality and character than he'd like to admit (this committed environmentalist once soaked his vegetables in the pesticide diazinon in a fit over bugs), Alexander is eventually humbled and awed by Mother Nature's final word, always delivered without anger or acrimony.