The one in which I talk behind my tomato plant’s back

I kill plants. To anyone who has been reading this blog for a while, this is old news. I covet them in friends’ houses, where they sit all well-nurished and satisfied, happily filtering the CO2 out of the air and replacing it with delicious O2. Not so much in my house. The last plant to stay alive for any amount of time in my care was a group of three paperwhites I was given as a housewarming present in February of ’08. They lasted until they grew too tall for the container they were in and started drooping, after which I threw them out in the yard for the dogs to chew on and used the container to hold toothpicks and my cool salt’n’pepper shakers.

Somewhere between then and now, I’ve decided to grow some vegetables. I’ve got a little bit of free time on my hands, so I went to the grown-up’s toy store that is the Home Depot and picked up a single roma tomato plant, some potting soil, and a watering can. After reading this Instructable, I fashioned a hanging planter out of an empty Simply Limeade bottle and hung that son of a gun out on my front porch, visions of fresh tomatoes and homemade salsa dancing in my head.

Encouraged by the fact that my baby tomato plant hadn’t perished immediately, two days later I was back at the Depot (as those of us in the know call it) picking up a couple of zucchini and bell pepper plants. Look out, world, Bad Mutha Fudruckin’ Farms is open for business!

But now, sadly, I think my tomato plant is dying. It hasn’t put out any new leaves, and the existing ones are looking pretty burnt. It couldn’t possibly have been my less-than-delicate handling of it’s roots during the transplanting process, could it? Let’s all agree to blame it on some limeade that must have escaped my hap-hazard rinsing job.

My zucchini and peppers, on the other hand, are growing like mutha fudruckin’ gang busters. I honestly feel like I can see them growing if I watch long and closely enough. My friend Craig is a strong advocate of talking to plants (and has some pretty incredible specimens to back up this theory), so I’ve been trying to be as encouraging to the plants as possible without looking like a complete lunatic in front of my neighbors swigging 40s of Steel Reserve on their front porch. Everything I say, though, comes out sounding pretty lame.

“Wow, zucchini, you’re really putting out some leaves, huh? Well, keep up the good work.”

“Dang, pepper! 2 new leaves? Somebody is an overachiever!”

Poor tomato, though, all I can say is, “Oh, little tomato, you’re not doing so well, are you?” But then I feel bad because they are all pretty close and the poor little tomato surely heard the praise I’m heaping on the others. Maybe he needs to be seperated from his thriving cousins and put in the back yard, where he can feel superior. Or at least adequate.

Or maybe I’ll toss him to the dogs as a chew toy and head back to the Depot.

9 thoughts on “The one in which I talk behind my tomato plant’s back

  1. That is so strange … just as I’m about to leave this comment for you … I see you commented on my blog. Great minds? I think so!

    Well, if you learn the secret to keeping plants alive, you’ll have to let me know. And if you wind up killing them, maybe you should publish a how-to … just so I know what NOT to do.

    How to kill tomatoes: Water them. Look at them. Call them names (optional).

  2. Better than I’d do…I’d be all “Yes pepper, who’s my good boy? Who’s my good boy? Is it you? Yes! You’re my good boy.” Like I talk to the dogs. Christ.

    I hate tomatoes though. So the tomato plant can fuck itself.

    It’s only a matter of time before they have nicknames. “Who’s my Pepe Le Pew? Who’s my little Peppy Pepperton?!?”

  3. At least they’re coming out of the soil. Had I planted them, they would not even be popping their little roots out.

    I’m an expert on killing plants.

    I’m a total cheat. I bought them as seedlings.

  4. I would kill a tomato plant on purpose.

    Death by ketchup.

    Ok that was bad. I’ll go now.

    I say death to ketchup. Yuck. I had originally planned on killing my tomato plant slowly, tomato by single, delicious tomato.

  5. I wanted to try my hand at a Veg Garden, but I’m afraid. I do well with outdoor plants and floors, but indoor is a different story. So it could go either way. My mom is a pro gardener. She has enough tomatoes every summer to feed a third world country.

    I’m a bit afraid, too. I hope tomato plant ghosts aren’t vengeful. I tried my best, little tomato plant! You gotta believe me!

  6. Miracle Grow. It’s the only way I can get anything to grow. For some reason all my vegetables came out mini-sized last year. What was supposed to be beefsteak tomatoes came out cherry tomotoes but I was just astounded that there were tomatoes at all.

    I’d be happy with a tomato. Heck, I’d be happy with a live tomato plant.

  7. Yep, I hear ya. I have dreams of a cute little garden in the new place. Then I wake up and realize I will kill every last thing I try to plant. There goes my plans to retire as a roadside farmer.

    On to Plan B…

    Now legal for 17 year olds w/o a prescription!

  8. glad to see you are back. But I hate tomoatos, but then again I’m weird.

    Apparently tomatoes hate me. Or at least find death preferable to my company.

  9. i’m so glad you are back because i love the paint illustrations, lmao!

    Thanks! They are a highlight of my day as well.

    Now I feel sad.

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