My first tomatoes

“Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil and you’re a thousand miles from the corn field.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower

My Papaw was a carpenter by trade and lived in the suburbs of North Miami. His tiny backyard always had chickens, fruit trees, and a small garden. Slowly, my backyard is beginning to look the same.

This year, I tried my hand at gardening. I live in town but have a large yard, though most of it is in the shade. So I bought three huge plastic pots, 5 tomato plants of varying verities, 3 bell pepper plants, and an olive tree.

The olive tree, to my surprise, actually produced two tiny olives. However, it turned out, that olive trees need lovers to pollinate and I only had the one tree. It did well at first but seems to be dying now – perhaps from loneliness – perhaps it just needs a bigger pot. Either way, I don’t think it’s going to make it.

I planted the rest of the plants in the other two pots and placed them in the sunniest part of the yard. I know – way too many plants in each pot.

I used the mulch I had been making all winter. A combination of pine chips, hay, food scraps, and chicken shit. Since I didn’t have enough, I filled the bottom 1/3 of the pot with hay, covered that with news paper, covered that with mulch, then added a little potting soil on top of that.

The bell peppers never seemed to grow. They hung in there for a a month or two but eventually gave up the struggle.

My cheery tomatoes where the first to bloom and I got about 20 little tomatoes. Then the plant turned brown and died. We’ve had a lot of rain this year, but on the dry days I always watered my plants.

I read somewhere not to splash the water on the soil as this could cause fungus in the soil to get on the leaves. So I always did my best not to do that. I also saw on a YouTube video last week that you should trim the bottom leaves and shoots up about 10″-12″ to prevent the same issue. I think that information came a little too late.

I think that fungus, did in fact, get to my tomatoes. No matter if the soil was dry or wet, the plants always had brown tipped leaves. Then as the tomatoes began to ripen, the majority of them would split or get black spots on them.

I fed the rotted tomatoes to the chickens, while struggling to harvest enough good tomatoes to make so much as a single bowl of bruschetta.

I’m not upset, it was my first try. Next year, I will do better.
1. More potting soil.
2. Only one plant per pot.
3. Prune the lower 12″.

I bet next year, I’ll be swimming in tomatoes.

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