Saturday, August 14, 2010

At long last

I have been variously amused and frustrated lately reading about local gardener's efforts to coax their tomato plants into extending their productive efforts.  (check the comments section for the 8/8/10 post here)

Some are trimming back plants and hoping for a second crop.  Others have actually put new plants into the ground counting upon our extended warm weather to give them time for tomatoes before frost is even a prospect.

On the other hand, around the Gardenista we have been babying along what are surely the slowest growing, most extended adolescent type tomato plants I've ever personally witnessed.  I don't know what the problem has been.  The plants were all started indoors from seed way back in February.  They were not transplanted out into unprotected beds until well after the evening lows had hiked up into the 50's.  The baby plants went into beds prepped with compost and manure and the plants were mulched to help protect against moisture loss.

Providing supplemental water from the rain barrels gave us plenty of chances to keep an eye on their progress (or lack of it).  Nothing much happened.  Weeks turned into months. I racked what passes for my brain.  Why so little growth for so long and no tomatoes from these guys?  (Whyyyyyyyyyy!!!???)

Two little too late?
I had no clue and once my ankle injury sidelined my active participation I decided I no longer really cared enough to even ask the Hub how the plants were doing.  It was just too discouraging.

Cue upwelling of inspirational music.

Then it happened.  Two days ago, lo and behold, at least on the Roma plants, I spotted actual fruit.  The other varieties are blooming fairly regularly at long last and I have my trowels crossed that if we baby them through this final burst of high temperatures, we might just get an actual tomato or two.

Even one hand full of tomatoes (should they make it to harvest) would be just enough to entice me into trying to grow tomatoes all over again next year. [Disclaimer: With the obligatory annual alterations designed to overcome various mistakes and obstacles of course.]

I suppose that is always the way with an amateur like moi self.  I accidentally get it right juuust enough of the time to keep me from getting totally fed up.

As an optimist over all, in my outdoor attempts especially I minimize or outright ignore my (many) failures and maximize my successes.  I focus on what works and blithely jettison what either never worked at all or mysteriously has stopped working. Sun/shade conditions changed? I didn't hold my lips right when planting this year?  Wrong phase of the moon?  Soil pH?  Star alignment?  I rarely ever really know.

Samuel Johnson purportedly labeled remarriage as "the triumph of hope over experience".  I think he may as well have been talking about gardeners.   Gardeners and one stubborn blue bonnet plant perhaps.

The plant pictured below self seeded and decided to grow off-off season.  It is blooming in August because I guess it wants to?  Given the circumstances of my somewhat dismal fruit and vegetable crop results, I could not be happier.  I will take a tick mark for the "Win" column in any form.  In or out of season.

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Rollingwood, Central Texas
Family historian by default. Oldest surviving matriarch on my branch of the Family Tree. Story teller, photo taker, gardener, cook, blabbermouth.