Sunday, June 13, 2010

Garden Boo Boo

I messed up!

I tried to fix it!
But, I think I made it worse.

I love tomatoes.
Love them, love them, love them, love them.
I can eat them raw, no matter what size or variety, and there's no telling how much I used stewed, diced tomatoes in sauces or bases all year long.

As is true of my personality, when I like something, I tend to get crazy.
Or, as my kids would say, "Cray Cray" - (please please go see the MAD TV clip of Bon Qui Qui on YouTube and have a laugh on me).

I planted 25 tomato plants, people.
Think about that for a moment.
25 tomato plants in a 4 ft. square raised garden bed.
The little plants fit nicely...I left plenty of room in between so they could stretch out their little limbs and still be comfortable.

All was well.
Until I left for Destin and was gone for 7 days.
When we returned, my tomato bed looked more like a JUNGLE.

My father said, "Did you not pull off the "suckers" at the bottom?
My mother said, "You're supposed to pull off the "suckers" at the bottom?


First of all, when my dad first mentioned "suckers," I thought he was talking about some kind of horrible worm. 
My youngest and I were traumatized by tomato worms on our first tomato crop a couple of years ago.
Tomato worms are big fat worms that have horns and look like the devil himself implanted them in your garden.
I still have nightmares.

Now, I know that both of my parents were talking about the little plant shoots at the bottom of the tomato plant that will weigh the plant down as they grow horizontally instead of vertically.  Sure enough, the "suckers" sprouted out and up and out and up and out and up...each "sucker" sprouted its own shoot, and then those shoots sprouted more.

The individual plants (when you can finally decipher which limb goes with which plant) each actually remind me of a grammar diagram. Do you remember those?
I'm sorry. I'm an English teacher.

The following photo is one example of the tomato plants I have laying on their sides instead of climbing the nice little green stakes the Head of My Household put in for me.

I was too busy thinking about the hundreds of tomatoes I was going to grow to be worried about growing a forest in my garden beds :(


The Head of My Household said, "You mean both your parents told you to do the same thing and you STILL did it your way?"

It wasn't the first nor the last time I've been called hard-headed.
You'd think I'd learn.
My mom said, "you'll need to thin them out in order to save some of them."
Thin them out??
I want them all!!!
(See what I mean?)
Gettin' crazy again.

If I had to thin the tomato plants, I decided I didn't have anything to lose in trying to repot the ones I chose to thin out.  I found an unused paint bucket in our garage, a couple of older pots, and bought several cheap garbage cans.
I pulled off those "suckers" (I don't know what you call them once they've become big giant limbs) before I repotted the thinned tomato plants.  I even drilled holes in the bottom of the garbage cans and the paint bucket so that the water could drain.

In the heat of the day my little repotted tomatoes look pretty sad.

They actually do perk up when they are not in the direct sun.
I lined them up next to the rails on my patio so they would have plenty of support...My mom says they're probably in "shock" and I should take extra care of them for a while.
Just what I need...a sick bay in my backyard.

It was 94 degrees today with at least 194% humidity in Southern Mississippi.
Even my pool water was 92 degrees.

My little tomatoes will need all the help they can get.
I'm just hardheaded enough to try to save them all...



  1. Oh my gosh, I'm laughing out loud here. First of all, I KNOW about Bon Qui Qui. I JUST sent the link to that video to my father in law today!! I tried to tell him the story over the Memorial Day weekend when we saw them. He laughs so hard at my southern accent anyway, that when I did Bon Qui Qui, he laughed hysterically.
    Secondly, I loved diagraming sentences in school. Yes, I'm a strange one. Even now, when I hear a sentence sometimes, I'll diagram it in my head to figure out what parts go where. I was so dismayed when I found out my kids didn't do that in school. I still used that tool to help them through grammer.
    Lastly, I love, love, love tomatoes too. I have grieved for almost four years because I can get nothing but plastic tomatoes here in Hawaii. I have tried to grow them but cannot. They bloom beautifully and then die. I don't know why.
    I hope your little plants survive. Listen to your momma from now on. This is a lesson for you.
    I think you and I were separated at birth.

  2. Okay, now that you've saved them all, my question is what are you going to do with the HUNDREDS of tomatoes?

    I love a good, homegrown raw tomato too - just not x100. :)

  3. Paula, my middle child can do a Bon Qui Qui imitation that will make you fall down laughing.

    I wish we still diagrammed sentences...I teach college students who seem to have forgotten that there is such a thing as grammar. I think diagramming really helped us "see" how sentences were put together and how all the parts work together.

    My mom reads my blog so she'll be thrilled to see your "listen to your momma" comment :):)

  4. Mindee, I hope to be doing lots of canning and freezing :)