Okay, I bet I know what you’re thinking, “When did Roy get stepchildren and what do these tomatoes have to do with anything?” I promise you, it all fits together and I’ll explain.
I have never claimed to be a master gardener or anything like that. I have, over the years, started many plants from seed, pretty much all of which barely made it out of the “popping out of the ground” stage. At the present moment, I have an outside garden in which radishes and peas are making a sporadic appearance and beans and carrots have apparently elected not to appear at all. The tomatoes and peppers were bought as mature plants and have been holding nightly meetings to come up with new lists of demands—not enough sun, too much water, etc. I don’t think they like the neighborhood!
This is not necessarily a discouraging thing for me. I am used to failures on the gardening front. I have even come to accept and embrace those failings. I admire the flowers and plants of other people with a big smile on my face and a silent curse on their green thumbs stuck in the back of my throat…okay, maybe I am a little bitter.
But this spring, things are different. As you can see from the picture, I, me, Jackie Fauth, the plant killer, have raised six tomato plants from seed! These little girls are all mine due to my diligence, tender care, and maybe even the lullabies I have been singing them. That’s right, they LIKE my singing!
Every day, I go out to the garage to the table by the window with just the right amount of warmth and sun and I give water to them and I praise them–obviously, Prunella is the biggest and most beautiful, but I try not to have favorites, because Jammy and Saucy (the most size-impaired ones) get very jealous.
Roy has been watching this development with pretty much no comment. He does keep pointing out in a carefully logical voice that they are way behind the others and probably will never reach the point where they will squeeze out a tomato before the frost hits. He doesn’t know that I plan to keep them in the house this winter…maybe on his side of the bed!
I have been taking my girls out each day for a little sun. We have a visit; I tell them what I’ve been doing (yes, it HAS been a long pandemic, why do you ask?) and they show me their new leaves and the rate at which their roots are growing. We have a wonderful relationship and I really feel like a Master Gardener.
This week, however, I have begun to realize that Roy has perhaps unknowingly (but I don’t think so) been abusing my girls. I go outside and find them sitting ON THE GROUND with no thought to their well-being. When I complained that he was not providing them with the proper amount of moisture, he SPRAYED them with water! I went out to check on them and they were laying over, looking so sad.
“What did you do to them?” I raged. “Look at them! They are distraught!”
“I watered them, along with all the other plants,” he said, looking as though I’d lost my mind.
“You don’t dump water on their heads!” I was outraged. “You sprinkle some water GENTLY around their roots, or better still, put it in the bottom of the tray and they can use it when they are ready. They are traumatized; it will take me hours to get them comforted and back to normal.”
“Something’s not normal around here, that’s for sure,” he muttered as he started to walk away.
“Another thing,” I had just remembered, “I came out here yesterday when the wind was whipping and found these girls, BENT OVER, they were so terrified of the wind. How could you do that?”
It was then that he made reference to three things: 1) My gardening was a trifle obsessed; 2) Mental health needs to be carefully nurtured and 3) He didn’t sign on to this marriage to play stepfather to a bunch of tomatoes.
Some people are just selfish!