Monday, July 14, 2008

Oh For One Tomato

Lest anyone be under the illusion that a fascination with nature correlates in any way whatsoever with green fingers, let me assure you that in my case it is certainly not true.

Take for example my pitiful little vegetable patch. I've planted tomatoes for the second year in a row, and do you think I've had the teensiest little flower, let alone anything even vaguely resembling a fruit? Well truth be told last year doesn't really count because I kind of forgot about the poor little fellows and, well, with the Georgia soil and climate, a little bit of TLC isn't really too much to ask.

But this year, I was going to somehow cope with probable hosepipe bans, and plant a real garden. Just a tiny one - don't want to overdo the investment until I'm sure of a yield. Six little tomato plants, six summer squash, and a couple each of bell pepper and aubergine (eggplant). Lots of garden soil, followed all planting instructions, mulched and watered regularly and generously. Fast forward six weeks, and? They're all still alive but barely seem to have grown an inch. The squash plants have flowered at least, so I guess if we're really hungry we can make do with those. But not a single flower on the tomatoes. So maybe it's lack of sun. The way the shadows fall in our garden, the only place that gets continual sun is smack bang in the middle of the lawn - not an option. But maybe the other side gets a little more sun, and it's less surrounded by other plants that could be sucking the nutrients out of the earth. So two weeks ago Emma and I form a relay team and transplant across the yard to an even better prepared bed.

Well they seem to be doing ever so slightly better. I read that pet hair contains lots of nitrogen which is good for the soil, and heaven knows we have plenty of that to spare. So maybe Basil gets a daily brushing in the tomato bed. If that fails, then next year there's nothing for it. I'll be digging up that patch of lawn in the middle of the garden, doing some heavy duty composting and enlisting Farmer Thomas to pitch in. You can tell I'm totally clueless, but I'll get a homegrown tomato one day, by golly!

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