And I had such high hopes.
You see, apparently I’m a murderer.
In the past, for sure, and I’m getting the feeling I will soon be classified as a serial killer very, very, very soon.
But I get it honestly.
My mother is a murderer too.
In fact, she has killed more — and here’s the rub — rubber tree plants than deforestation. At least, that’s what I’d guess.
You see, I also have my own share of “vegetative” guilt. I don’t know if that’s the right word for a plant killer or not. I just made it up, sorta. At least, I made up its usage in this case.
But back to my killing spree.
I’ve killed cactus.
Well, I’ve killed one cactus.
Yes sirree bobbie, I’m the killer of at least one cactus.
That was a while ago.
You see, I had this cat figurine/vase. It was only about 5 inches high and about 6 inches long — tops. It had an opening at the rear end of the cat where the cactus was to be planted to look like the tail of a cat — a scaredy-cat. You know — tail straight up in the air with its hair all a-bristled.
Anyway, I am told I probably overwatered the poor little tail cactus because it died. I hope it wasn’t a horrible death, but how would I know? I just hope it went peacefully.
That’s not the only one I’ve committed homicide on.
I’m not sure if I can remember, yet alone want to divulge, all of my kills, but I am struggling with a couple right now.
Now, to my credit, all three I am about to pen about are not dead; at least, not yet. But they sure are looking a tad piqued.
Now, if any of you folks out there are interested in giving growing your own tomatoes a try, it’s not too late — or so I understand. I think the ideal time was in May, but I also read that you’d succeed if you planted them now — as long as I am nowhere around them.
I Googled and found some advice on how to do it right and get yourself a great crop of homegrown tomatoes.
Here they are:
- Don’t crowd your little budding tomato seedlings. (I think that’s what they’re called.) Plant the seeds with some room between each other. It is recommended that you move your little ones to 4-inch pots about two weeks after their first leaves. By the way, did I happen to mention that my pot, which I went out on a special shopping trip to get, with my two “tiny, tiny, tiny” plants in them, is about 18 inches across? Big enough, I would say. But to no avail.
Anyway, back to tomato-growing advice.
- Make sure your baby tomato plants have plenty of light. I try to place them in the sunniest spot and position my blinds just so to give my little ones the most sun possible. Oh, and this might be a good time to mention it. I am trying to grow these, my first tomato plants, inside my apartment.
Does that make a difference?
I’ve seen crows and cardinals and squirrels — my cousin Karin calls them bushy-tailed rats — and bunny wabbits, so I figured that judging from my mom’s garden, I would keep my precious little round red babies safe and keep them inside.
Was I wrong?
I think I may be zeroing in on my plant problems.
I figured my plants would be safer and grow faster and better if I protected them from predators. Seems the only predator I didn’t protect them from was me.
To continue how to raise healthy and happy tomato plants:
- Tomato plants need a lot of light. Oopsy. I see a pattern developing. They will need strong, direct sunlight or up to 18 hours under a fluorescent grow light.
- Expose your tomato plants to the breeze from a fan. Apparently, they need this movement to grow strong stems. Who knew?
- Preheat the soil in your garden.
Apparently, tomatoes love heat, so if you are planting them outside, cover the area with plastic — clear probably works best — a few weeks before planting to warm up the soil.
Again, who ever knew?
- Bury your tomato plants deeper, all the way up so only a few top leaves are visible. (I did this one!) You don’t even have to dig a deep hole. You can dig a shallow one and then place the tomato plant sideways. The plant will right itself.
- Mulch only after the ground has warmed up
- Pinch and prune the leaves in between the joint of two branches to get more tomatoes. Just don’t overdo it. Be judicious.
- Water lots and on a regular schedule while plants are developing. But once the plant starts to grow fruit, cut back just a tad. Not a concern of mine, unfortunately. This will allow the fruit to concentrate more sugars.
Well, now that I finally got some tomato-growing advice, I’m really not quite sure why my tomato plants aren’t 6 feet tall and bursting with a dozen or more juicy tomatoes.
Do you think that maybe it was improper planting, not enough breeze, not enough water, not enough sun, not the right soil temperature, not enough mulch and not enough pruning?
Ahhhhhh ... Naaaahhh! These couldn’t possibly be the reasons.
As I mentioned when I first started writing, it’s because I’m a serial vegetation killer.
Some people are just born that way.
What do you think?