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This Tomato Thinks I Know What I’m Doing

Last year, I decided that I wanted to have a small vegetable garden on our patio.

I bought containers and plants, and assembled what I had into a tomato and jalapeño factory. There was no rhyme or reason to my choice of crops. I suppose I just like tomatoes and hot peppers.  If farmers chose their crops the way I do, we’d end up with a lot peppers and no Brussels sprouts. The world would be a better place

I am a farmer

I am a farmer

By the end of the summer, I declared my garden a success. My wife and I had fresh tomatoes for our salads until the first frost. The jalapeño harvest was prodigious; there’s still half of a gallon bag of spicy goodness in our freezer. But the biggest success of my garden was the enjoyment I got from it.

I tend to think that if a little of something is good, more is better. Sometimes that philosophy works, sometimes it gets me in trouble. But my plan this year is to have a bigger garden. A small garden equaled a little fun, so a big garden should equal a lot, right?

Apparently, I Don’t Know What I’m Doing

When I stopped by a gardening center this week, I had an idea of how I’d grow more plants in the available space on the deck. I wandered in and looked at the planters they had. Eventually, an employee came to help.

After I told her that I wanted to expand my patio garden, she led me to a section where she showed me the containers that she recommended. She reviewed my options and asked what I planted my vegetables in last year. It seemed a reasonable question and I thought my answer was too. Apparently not.

I pointed out the planters that I used. She was horrified. “You planted vegetables in those? What did you grow?” I told her because, like I said, I thought my answer was reasonable. “Tomatoes and peppers.” “But you can’t do that”, she said, “how many plants in each?” “Two tomatoes and two peppers.”

The garden center woman shook her head. “You can’t do that”. But the fact was, that I had. She insisted that it wouldn’t work. “The plants can’t be staked in that container.” “I staked them and my plants didn’t break, even when the tomatoes came in.”

Apparently, It Doesn’t Matter If I Know What I’m Doing

Hearing that my plants produced tomatoes seemed to be a blow to her – “you actually got fruit?” I nodded and said “yes, and I had so many jalapeños that I’ve still got some.” She tipped her head, so I answered the question that I thought was coming “I froze them in a one gallon plastic bag.” She just shook her head.

She shook her head, and we both knew what she meant by that. She meant that I couldn’t freeze peppers the way I did…but that’s what I did, and I cook with them all the time.

I’ve always thought that if a person doesn’t know that doing something is impossible, there is some possibility that they might accomplish that thing. It seems that, without knowing it, I proved my theory last summer by successfully growing vegetables the wrong way. In fact, by proving my theory last summer without setting out to prove it, I proved my theory.

I left the garden center without buying anything for my vegetable garden. It seemed that doing so would have stressed the garden center woman out too much. I did buy some flowers for the front of our house; they’re now in the ground near our front door. I don’t know if there are any rules against flowers near a front door. Putting them in the soil seemed like the right idea.

My plants think I know what I’m doing. That’s good enough.

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10 Comments on “This Tomato Thinks I Know What I’m Doing”

  1. Just to be a little bit judgmental, you must not have ever had fresh brussel sprouts sauteed in garlic and oil. They are very yummy, but I think they are difficult to grow, so just stick with what you like. This year I think you should try to grow some lettuces. I planted mine in a simple pot and used regular dirt, they seem to be just as happy as your flowers.

  2. Jen says:

    Approval from experimental growing goodies…what more do you really need?
    I moved into a house this year… bought a greenhouse that’s currently in my living room with a bunch of veggies I planted way to soon itchin’ to get outside….
    BUT…They have faith in me. We’ll get through it together.

  3. Mike says:

    How close to the Front Door?

  4. Laughing Dragon says:

    I love this story so much. Made me giggle in all the right ways.

  5. Debbie says:

    Just one more bit of proof that it’s not the gardener, but the plant and the soil, that need to know what to do!! Well done, Oma — and best wishes for a bountiful harvest this year!

  6. pegoleg says:

    I buy the recommended pots, the best dirt (boy it sounds bizarre to say you buy dirt) and the ideal garden implements. That must be why nothing I plant ever grows.

  7. robincoyle says:

    I call it dumb luck. Not that you are dumb, mind you, but that your tomatoes are too dumb to know they are in the wrong containers.

  8. larva225 says:

    I have no idea what I’m doing, either, but I grow tomatoes every year. This year, something must’ve gotten into the water supply. They’re herculean. Cages and stakes aren’t enough. I’m about to hire a strong man to just stand there and support them. To hell with the experts.

  9. LRose says:

    My father and fishing is pretty much the same story


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