Wednesday, May 9, 2012

2012 Garden: Tomato Tombstone

Mom said life has 3 physical stages. One, you can do everything you want. Two, you can do everything, but you're going to pay for it. Three, you can't do anything. I'm sort of in two. On recent mornings, having worked in the garden for a few hours, getting out of bed is a slow process. The 1800 square feet of garden is a daunting breadth of ground to get the grass off, and get the seeds in. The onions and sugar snap peas, planted the weekend of April 21, have growth. That's exciting. The two varietals of spinach, golden beets, radishes, green peppers have not much to show yet. And I'm sore from all the weeding and shoveling and bending. I planted Bonny Best and Beefsteak tomato heirloom seeds in compostable cups. Tomatoes from seeds wasn't my first choice, but Dad remembers these plants fondly, and so I'm growing the seeds. This is an amazingly complicated undertaking. My idea of growing is 1) stick it in the dirt, and 2) pick the result. I'm hauling tomato plants in and out/up and down like kids in brainy baby programs. No temperature under 62 degrees. Not too moist, but not dry. Don't crowd. Too much direct sunlight and the seedlings will get leggy. Use a growlight with the leaves almost touching the bulb. For an hour a day, if there is no breeze for the plants to play in, use a fan. But direct sunlight is good, too, especially if there's a breeze. When the plants are 6 inches tall, separate into 2" containers. But don't touch the stems, and don't jostle the roots. Keep away from the leaves while you're about it.  And the soil temperature of the new pot must be the same as the old pot. Use a thermometer. Moisture level, ditto. Oh, remember the fan. And the moist, but not wet, but not dry. Did I mention the fan? And the growlight? I told Dad today on the tenth trip up and down the stairs toting a tray of tomato plants - it's the tomatoes that are going to get me. Dad said I put Lilies of the Valley on your mother's tombstone, I'll put tomato plants on yours. I told him just make sure the soil isn't too moist. Or too dry. Skip the fan and the growlight.

1 comment:

  1. Linda, I envy your tomatoes. We don't get enough sun to grow veggies, and barely enough to grow roses. Fortunately plenty of folks around here do, so we get vine ripe goods, but there's nothing like growing your own as you so aptly note. :)