Sunday, May 1, 2011
This is a close-up of one of my heirloom tomato starts (it's a Green Zebra to be exact). When I started them in March I had 36 and at first they were my pride and joy. They were easy, some water, some sun, soon they peeked out. I congratuled myself for being so resourceful, growing them from seeds harvested from my heirloom tomato plants from last year. I pictured myself generously giving them to friends and family and plant a half dozen myself.
I knew nothing then of heating mats, 16-hour growing lights and a rigid and very fussy fertilizer and watering schedules.
In other words, I was too dumb to know better.
Six weeks later, I have less than 16 plants left and at the present rate of artrition I will have maybe enough to plant for myself, at which point I will have to defend these fickle things against the elements, pesky critters and plenty of pests. They die mysterious and tragic deaths, looking limb one minute and positively strawy-dead the next, all despite the fact that I faithfully carry them inside overnight and place them lovingly in the sun during the day, water them with the care I usually only afford to my beloved, and I feed them on a schedule I consider both ludicrious and prissy.
I want to admit that I should just tip them into the compost pile and go buy myself a half dozen heirloom starts, it would safe me a lot of time and effort, but apparently I'm a sucker for disapointment, and since potty training is going so well - not - I might as well grow my own tomato plants...
I love spring though. I love the season of growing things that will later nurture me and my family. I want to. I really do. And if one of these prima donnas survives and bears fruit. I'm going to make a BIG DEAL out of it. I will EAT IT and ENJOY IT!!!
And next year I'm high-tailing it to the farmers' market for some starts that have outgrown the fussy stage.[