Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Well, It's May...

and for the most part, my spring garden is planted. In late March, I began the task of selecting plants.

As I wandered through the local garden stores, all kinds of vegetables caught my eye, and I purchased with glee, looking forward to having fresh vegetables that I didn't have to pay an arm and a leg for; especially veggies like bell peppers... if they are green, they are expensive. If they are yellow or red, the price climbs to obscene levels. They actually cost more than meat... what are they doing, mining them like coal?

Anywhoo.

So, I'm in the stores, happily buying cantaloupes, watermelon, cucumbers, sweet potatoes, and herbs.

And, oh yeah.

Tomatoes.

What kind of garden is it without tomatoes? If you look through the gardening catalogs, you will see that there is a tomato in almost every color under the sun.

Fortunately, my gardening ignorance is being mitigated by my neighbors, who have assisted me every step of the way ("Do I spread the lime on the ground clockwise or counterclockwise?"), so I have a list of the types of tomatoes that do well for this area.

But, as you know, the only way to create a fool-proof plan is to eliminate the fool.

Heh.

Armed with my list, I buy the tomatoes on it. Celebrity, Best Boy, and Homestead. I also pick up some Golden Delicious (a yellow tomato), because it actually gave me three tomatoes last year, when the rest of my garden went AWOL and turned into a weed patch.

I plant my tomatoes (with instructions followed), and pick out the suckers, and trim them so that I can weed around them. I am rewarded with lush, beautiful-looking tomato plants, full of blossoms, and little tomatoes. And that's when I realize that they need to be staked.

No problemo, thought I. I'll head over to Wal-Mart, and pick up some stakes, and tie them up.

When I get to Wal-Mart, I realize that I don't have a clue as to how many tomatoes I have, so I call home, and asked one of the girls to go outside and give me a head count (so to speak).

75 red tomatoes of various kinds.
25 yellow tomatoes ... and two more pots of tomatoes staked on the front and back decks.

!!!

I bought and planted a lot, thinking that my Black Thumb™ would kill off most of them, and I'd have a few left to eat, can, etc.

I have 100 tomato plants (!!!), and while I figured out what it is going to take to keep the plants off the ground once they start bearing heavily (No one has that many stakes in stock; and I wasn't going to drive across three counties trying to buy up tomato stakes when gas is $4/gallon!), I have learned two valuable lessons:

One: Never shop while you're hungry. Experienced gardeners know that even if you have a large family (which I have), you don't need a whole lot of tomato plants to keep them swimming in tomatoes.

Two: Even if you don't know what you are doing, your 'What If?' scenarios should always include how will you handle success; when what you've been working for comes to fruition, sooner and in greater quantity than you dared hope for.

Are your systems in place to handle it all? Is your plan scalable? Can you get help?

Perhaps I'll open up a 'Bubba Gump Tomato Factory'... send recipes, LOL!!


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