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Another Shovelful of Dirt on the Ol’ Grave: 2009 Tomato Crop a Total Failure

I planted more than 300 tomato plants this March.  Either 360 or 432 (5 or 6 flats) I can’t remember which. I don’t know what I would have done with 432 tomato plants, much less the fruit of 432 plants which could conceivably have borne some 8000 tomatoes if from each plant I picked 20, but I was so excited by the prospect of more red zebras, black plums, black zebras et al than we could ever possibly eat, the prospect of all those unearthly colors piled high that we could have eaten, and given away, and bartered for services (have tomatoes, will travel) that my already-too-prone-to-botanical-revery  judgment was clouded enough that it seemed perfectly reasonable that I might need 1400 purple moon tomatoes alone.

But alas, those dreams have come to naught. Of the 5 or 6 flats I planted, it looks like the cumulative total of less than one has sprouted. And that one is much smaller than all the other plants I’m seeing out there in the markets. Maybe this is the universe’s lesson for the year on Hubris and Greed and Gluttony.  Maybe a flat is all I needed and nature thinned the herd for me. Or maybe I’m just a klutz.

I was no technician when I planted the seeds.  I may have pushed them down the requisite 1/4 inch into the soil, or it may have been 1/2 inch — I was going too fast to tell. I’ve never had any plant be so finicky that an extra 1/4 inch made any difference at all (unless I didn’t know it — I’ve heard that an extra 1/8 of an inch with carrot seeds is enough to forfeit the game). So it may have been that — that I’m a sloppy-ass farmer.

Or it may have been the temperature I’ve been germinating them at, a pretty unsteady 50º to 80º, has been too cool.  They like it between 75º and 90º.

My flimsy coldframe wasn’t tight enough to manage consistency like that, especially the night the blizzard caved it in and I had to scoop snow off the seedlings.  Hmmm.  Might that not have been it?  Der.

Whatever it was, a thing I’ve been so looking forward to for 9 months (no relation!) has come to naught, and now I have to wait another year to see if I can get it done right the second time. I have wasted a tomato year of my life. One year closer to not having any more tomatoes ever. 8000 less tomatoes total for this poor, lonely, infertile boy.

O, Death
Won’t you spare me over til another year.

Spring Fever

Some people open their windows and let a breeze in and get out the mop and dust sauce and clean. I get out my shovel. I’ve been holding my breath through the longest hardest coldest winter in recent memory for spring to break so long that it’s not a season anymore it’s a cure.

I planted 700 tulips last fall, plus 50-or-so (more) fritillaria, 50 (more) trumpet lilies, plus some assorted other stuff — narcissuses (they outlawed the plural “i”?), muscari, & cetera, and I have invested pretty much every last kernel of extra hope I have left lodged wherever it is in my chest into the vainglory of 700+ sublimely glaring, quietly screaming, asexually-whoring whorls and saucers of come-hither color that if a sub-zero front came raging through town tomorrow killing every firstborn flower I would most likely hang myself from a greenhouse rafter. At the least I would hit the high stream in a basket of reeds.

That plus I planted some thousand seeds of various kinds and warmed them through early and then late March on to early April in a cold frame or hot house or whatever you call it. 300+ heirloom tomatoes of various freaky families, Corn and kale and collard greens and chard.  Nasturtium and broccoli and lettuce and arugula for the missus who can think of nothing but, giant pumpkins, pie pumpkins, acorn squash, lemon cucumbers, striped and regular beets, and on and on and on, all happily sprouting in the nice wet jungular I heat made under the plastic with the space heater running 24/7 carbon footprint be damned.

Suffice it to say I’ve got some energy invested in these May flowers. Enough that when I caught the brown dog traipsing, for some godforsaken reason, on top of the tender seedlings in the plastic trays on the back patio this morning, I smacked the glass to scare her, gave her the stink-eye and told her, “you. you are such a dumb-ass.”

Now, today, this April 26th in the year of our lord 2009, there is so much about to pop that if I sneeze there will be pollen flying enough to.. Well, we wouldn’t want to overdo the metaphors now would we?

This one especially, the blumex tulip, strong candidate for the weirdest flower this side of the Black Sea medal, verging so close today to a slack-jawed snaggletoothed overbit inbred double-cousin but somehow, in a few days time, managing to morph into the sexiest multi-colored misshapen siren ever to grace this earth, has changed my understanding of beauty.

There’s more here.

The ever-present blog complication: how do I satisfactorily convey the absolute obscenity of what is about to happen without offending the curious in-laws and meddling teenage offspring that happen across these words?

I stop short.  And leave the rest to the imagination.

Adult Tastes

We stopped drinkin’ Tuesday. We made the most of the 3 days’ inter-egg-num (well, I did) but Tuesday we woke up glassy-eyed and twitchy and that was that. Party over man.

I hadn’t before today but finally seriously questioned the wisdom in sympathy sobriety.  What’s the point of the both us us suffering? She didn’t abstain in the past when I had to… And so on.

Nevertheless, Kaliber it was when I got home from a somewhat arduous day of office and errands. And now it’s 9, time for kids to go to bed, and I want something adult.  Something weird and complicated. Something not-too-sweet and relaxing and even a little mind-altering (even if just by it’s novelty).

So now I’m on to coconut water mango juice cocktail. Which I just can’t seem to get comfortable with. I think I smell the mango which really gets my juices flowing before I taste the … em… water.

Courtney just busted out the chocolate-covered twinkie.