The Suitcase Lady

Tomato

July 16, 2013, 10:22 pm

My lack of gardening skills is legendary. I am the woman who can’t grow mint. Each spring, I head to the garden center and buy yet another little pot of mint and start all over again.

When mint is a challenge, a tomato is totally daunting. Last year we could only manage two spindly plants with yellowed leaves and a yield of  two and one half tomatoes. Some unknown creature ate the other half.

Enter our gardening friend, Dawn, the horticulturalist. She patiently listened to our woeful tomato tale and cheerily said, “You can do this!”

A few weeks ago she arrived at our house with a colossal flower pot. Attached to the mega pot was a super size saucer and sticking straight up out of the soil was a one inch diameter pipe with a cap. Clearly, high technology was being employed.

The pot was lugged up onto our east facing deck along with a medium size tomato plant with several little green tomatoes dangling from it. A good teacher reinforces her students: our friend again assured us that we would have a tomato crop this year.

But she wasn’t taking any chances. Out of her bag came Epsom salts and eggshells which she patiently worked into the soil. Then the tomato plant was set into its new environment.

“Just pour water in the pipe every few days,” she instructed.

I must admit that my husband and I felt a bit of trepidation. If we messed this up, we would end up in the Worst Gardeners of the World Hall of Fame.

I am happy to report that we just picked our first red, ripe, perfect little tomato. The plant has turned into a leafy green tomato bush with numerous flowers. We are anticipating a bumper crop.

My husband and I are midcentury people and firm believers in the wisdom of the Beatles’ lyrics,” I get by with a little help from my friends.”

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