Saying goodbye to those tomato plants that were nurtured from seedlings.
|Ode to our Tomato Plants
I remember the day we brought you home from the Summer Blooms Nursery. You were just six little sprouts, in 6 inch pots. Your names: Cherry (1,2,and 3), Early Girl (1 and 2), and Big Boy. Along with your distant veggie cousins, Zucchini and Cucumber, you found a new home on our back patio throughout this past summer. And you thrived.
It was a sunny, though slightly cool day in May when my husband carefully transplanted you in bigger pots, adding new potting soil, Miracle Grow, and water. He strategically placed cages around each of you so you could climb your way to the sun as you grew. He added wire fencing around the back deck so that those pesky bunnies could not get to you. As you got bigger, and bigger, and bigger he added stakes and cloth ties made from old Sesame Street bed sheets that our children no longer use. He was like a second mother to you, making sure you were always watered, dusted for aphids, staked properly. Neighbors would comment on how he spent such quality time with you. You seemed happy and well adjusted.
At your peak, you had grown so big – 8 foot tall cherry tomato bushes and a Big Boy plant that was 4 ft. in diameter. Early Girl seemed rather normal in size. You provided us with hundreds of little tomatoes and dozens of bigger tomatoes. And the flavor was so wonderful. How we are going to miss that flavor.
As the days grew shorter and cooler this past month, we started to see the signs. Yellowing and withering leaves, fewer blossoms, an overall look of resignation, knowing that the end was near. We saved you twice from the frost, by covering you with all the clean sheets I had in the house that were not on beds. Then, we decided it was time. Jack Frost could have his way with you and I wouldn’t have to keep washing those sheets.
In the end, we are sorry to see you go. You have served us well. I know that if my husband knew how to play an instrument, even a Kazoo, he would have played Taps to send you on your way. But, alas, his only parting words were “ Get me a trash bag. I gotta get this ready to go for the Monday pickup.”