I so enjoyed growing tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers last year that I decided to one-up myself and instead of buying plants. I usually start flower seeds in the basement, and although historically, most fail to thrive once in the ground, hope springs eternal. So, early March found me carefully opening seed packets and tomato, cucumber and pepper sowing seeds in planting trays. I placed them in the basement windows where they’d enjoy the morning sun.
Each morning I visited them, whispering words of encouragement as I gently misted the soil. As the days passed with no signs of life, I entreated them. As April dawned, I summoned them to choose life. Finally in mid-April I threw up my hands and declared OK for you! Do what you want. Who cares. I can always buy plants.
In early April, I brought them up to the deck where the sun could bake the soil all day, then put them in the shed at night since, after soaking up the heat of the sun all day, it retains it well into the evening. Finally, one by one, 19 pairs of green leaves popped through the potting mix, stretching toward the warm sunlight. Tomatoes!!!!!! Welcome, Welcome,to The House of Mars, I exulted over each one as it emerged.
Eventually I realized I had a problem. What was I going to do with 21 tomato plants? They were my babies. I’d brought them into the world. I felt obligated to find them homes. Not just any home, my tomatoes needed good, caring homes. With this as my standard. I eliminated a few people who came to mind immediately. I stopped short of asking for references but i did come up with a list of candidates.
Actually the first two had no choice. I know my SIL (sister-in-law) to be an accomplished gardener with experience working in a nursery,and she and my bro have a fairly large terrace in their building; one that gets lots of sun. So no questions asked, I thrust two plants on her. 19 to go.
Same thing for my BFFFW (best friend from work). We’d discussed gardening many times, primarily who’s poison ivy itched more. She has more property than I do. So she got 3. 16 to go.
I put out the word to the other candidates I’d come up with and the answers poured in, all in the affirmative.
I’ll take one. 15 to go.
We can take two. 13 to go
Sure give me two 11 to go.
That’s so nice of you. Give us 6 Six! gulp.
Oh well, that left me with 5 for myself. Last year I bought 4 and while they produced an adequate amount of tomatoes I could have put more to good use. At least I had one more plant this year
Since they needed lots of TLC, I kept the five runts of the litter, kissed their siblings goodby, and delivered them to their new caregivers.
As for my five? Well, one decided it didn’t like The House of Mars, so, a couple of days after bring planted, it withered away. Then aliens invaded – not the usual suspects, my resident ground hogs and neighboring deer.(Not yet anyway). Not even the usual tomato-eating insects. No these strange-looking hard-shelled aliens are bout the size of a ladybug, but with a hard black shell ,shaped somewhat like a family crest , and a round clear yellowish suction cup bottom. At first I just removed them to another part of the yard since I hate to kill anything, but they multiplied as did the perfectly round munch holes they left in the leaves. I hardened my heart and found myself taking glee in the crunching sound they made as I crushed them.
So now I’m left with 4 plants, one of which looks very questionable. Since the three cucumber seeds that germinated produced plants that looked healthy in pots, but bit the dust once in the ground, and the pepper seeds never woke up, I set off on a mission yesterday. I couldn’t find any cucumber plants but I’ll keep searching; meanwhile I came home with four yellow pepper plants and four cauliflower plants.
At least Ithink they’ll produce cauliflowers. The tag was missing and, of the two workers I asked, one said he thought so. The other one didn’t speak English.
Let’s put it this way, by the looks of the leaves, I’ll either get cauliflower or collard greens. I’d take a picture of the mystery plants and see if anyone would post a knowing comment, but somewhere, sometime, someplace, I lost my camera this winter.
However, thanks to a postcard two of my happily settled plants sent from their new home, I can close with a photo.