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"My Tomatoes are Manically Depressed"

I am convinced that I have the most depressed, and unhealthy tomatoes in Austin, Texas right now . . . look at them. . .  - I can't! 

 
Potted and surrounded by straw to moderate container temperatures, I had high hopes this year! . . whoops!

I hear them groaning as I inch past them on my way down the yard to feed the fish, and then they splutter and cough on my way back. I do not like to look at them, but their grotesque form somehow beckons me to sneak a sidways peek - arrgh - they should be in a side-show at the state fair....or,  if they had tiny legs, 
climbing up the bell tower of Notredame. In all fairness it is me who "created" these edible monstrosities.  I now feel obliged to occasionally perform keyhole surgery on them and apply topical seaweed for medicinal purposes, to try to ease their insufferable pain.

It doesn't seem to be helping.

What I really want to do is rip them from their pots and throw their own mealy fruit 
back at them, whilst laughing insanely - but that would be cruel. No, they will be out there moaning and sniffing until the very last fruit ripens and is picked by tiny hands,then it will be straight into the trash with them all. 

I will try again next year, I always do.

This is how healthy they looked when they were growing only a few weeks earlier:

 
Everything was just fine for a while - good fruit set - healthy foliage, this was going to be my year.

I think the combination of early blight, poor selection, aliens and erratic moisture conditions formed the basis for this year's hideous display. Next year I plan to spread the risk and purchase a whole variety of different cultivars to see which ones do best . . . suggestions welcome!

Growing well right now:


Palm Grass [Curculigo capitulata]

The Palm Grass is 3 to 4ft tall forming large clumps. Leaves are six in.wide 
with parallel groves running the entire length of the leaf. Leaves are often 
used in flower arrangements. I grow two of these - making sure I cut off 
most of the seed heads when they form late Summer. This plant has an 
amazing propensity to self seed if this practice is not instigated. Fantastic 
tropical form, mine get to 6ft in diameter by the end of the summer. I would 
plant more if I had the space, this one is 3yrs old.

 

Black Swallowtail caterpillars on a line of fennel I always plant just for 
their own personal, annual banquet.


Black Swallowtail caterpillars eat plants in the Umbellifer family.  This includes parsley, dill, fennel, even carrots (the green tops).  Swallowtails have a 'scent horn' that sticks out of their head when disturbed, something I have always wanted myself after a good night out. The chrysalis will be either green or brown, depending on the conditions where it pupates. Big fat caterpillars, straight out of
a story book, can you have too many?

All material © 2008 for east_side_patch. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

Stay tuned for:
"My Compost Pile Burped at me"

Comments

(Anonymous)
May. 18th, 2008 03:03 am (UTC)
Manically Depressed Tomatoes
Nope, no blog yet, though I am sorely tempted. I have just entered the bright world of blogging, and am enjoying reading what others have to say. I can't help feeling an affinity to all the gardening bloggers out there, and it is so nice when everyone adds their own personal touch.

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