on growing tomatoes
Despite the rampant growth of my basil and other herbs, I’m still sort of a struggling gardener. For years, I was sure I couldn’t grow anything. My mother has one of the greenest thumbs around, but I was sure it had skipped a generation. I killed lots of houseplants before Don finally believed me. But last year, as I started getting more and more interested in cooking with fresh herbs, I became determined to try one more time. I concocted a plan that would force me to water the plants (often my fatal flaw) by putting them in planters right next to the back door and keeping a filled container of water right next to them so I could just water on my way out the door. And it worked! I grew basil, thyme, and rosemary, and the plants stayed alive all summer long. Everybody was impressed. The rosemary came inside over the winter, and managed to survive that, too.
This year, I was ambitious. Herbs, schmerbs! I’m an old hand at those by now. I’ve got basil, thyme, parsley, chives, lavender, and that same hardy rosemary growing outside the back door. We upgraded from one planter on the back stoop to five of them on the old picnic table, dragged as close to the back door as we could get it. And then I told Don that I planned to grow tomatoes. He laughed. I was insistent. He humored me, and — very late in the season — we finally bought some ‘Topsy-Turvy’ planters and he built an a-frame for them to hang from. We planted two tomato plants and a pepper plant, and surveyed our work with satisfaction.
And then there was some wind. And the a-frame fell over. Mighty Carpenter Don, defeated! I managed not to have hysterics, and we picked the planters up and hung them from the old tetherball pole out by the garage. Quite far from the house. Not remotely close to the back door. In no way conforming to my ‘water on the way’ plan.
I water them. Sometimes. When I can drag the hose out there. I’ve gone from a determination to grow tomatoes to viewing this as a sort of social gardening experiment, without much of the social or the gardening.
Unlike me, my mother-in-law is a conscientious and responsible gardener. She planted her plants at the appropriate time, and waters them regularly. She’s been rewarded for her efforts by a garden full of bounty, and when Don went over to their house to borrow his dad’s table saw the other day she sent him home with some fabulously fresh tomatoes.
I’m sending Don back to borrow another tool as soon as possible. As for me — there may be hope yet.
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Tags: gardening, tomatoes