So, I'm growing tomatoes... Just like I have always wanted to... Just like a nice gal from South Mississippi should. And, it is amazing.
Probably, as a reader you aren't really impressed by this revelation. I suppose you would have to know a little of the background. Until this experience, my thumb has been notoriously brown. My husband jokes that I am a serial killer of plants.
So, back in July after Danielle was listed, I decided I was going to celebrate life by once again planting some plants. Micah was a motivation too. In the summertime she likes to go out on the front porch and listen the the birds, watch the squirrels and see all the bugs and other facinating things making their home in our yard. My mom has instilled in her a deep love of gardening. They go out every day in the summer, and every time she gets a chance to slip over to Mimi's and trot around her garden any other time, she does it. She loves everything about it. She loves the dirt. She loves the watering. She loves caring for the plants. And, to watch my two-year-old little daughter mimic every move of my mom when she waters by gently lifting the leaves and taking such care to move about her tasks so delicately makes my heart overflow.
Much like when Dan became obsessed with Batman and Sarah needed all things Wizard of Oz, I became interested in gardening again because my child expressed such an interest. Further I have sustained more of an effort because it is important to Micah. I have always loved the idea of growing plants, but the day to day drudgery of caring for them is where I fall down. However, looking at the plants through Micah's eyes has made it less drudge and more magic. Watching her squeal and 'Ooh' as she marks the progress of our little front porch garden project has been more wonderful than I ever would have thought.
The other amazing thing is that everyone looked at me sadly and shook their heads when I told them I was planting tomatoes in July. Tried and true southern gardeners looked at me with pity for my ignorance. Everyone knows you must plant tomatoes in the spring so they can bloom and produce all summer long. However, on my trip to Lowes, the tomato plants were just calling to me. And, I thought, "No one is going to buy these now. It's past time."
My next thought in all honesty was, "Well, I'm going to give it a shot because I will probably kill them anyway and it won't make a difference if I planted them in the spring or in the summer."
So, I bought a couple of plants... One has leaves striped with white, light green, dark green and yellow. The other one is a flowering plant. (I already have two geraniums that live around the side of the house. They do very well because the trick to geraniums is neglectful care, at which I excel.) And, I bought three little abandoned-by-everyone-except-me tomato plants. Two of them I planted in the Topsy Turvy contraptions and they are currently hanging on the back porch. Neither of those have produced any tomatoes yet, and I keep hoping... But, I also planted one of the plants in a newly purchased Dollar General pot made cheaply and cleverly from some type of foam or particle board. Let's face it. I wasn't going to spend $30 on a pot to hold a dead tomato plant. I also bought some basil because everyone knows you can't have tomatoes without basil.
Micah and I set about making it happen with our little trowels and her small rake. We planted everything and went out every day to water and care for our plants. I was cheering when all of my plants were alive after two weeks and now those two weeks have turned into two months. Everyone said the plants wouldn't produce fruit because it is so hot in the summer here and they do best when they can get a break from the heat with cooler night air. I read everything I could on the internet and proceded to feed them every week with low nitrate fertilizer. I even brought my tomato plants into the house for a few nights so they could rest in the air conditioning with the rest of the family.
And, lo and behold, my potted tomato plant on the front porch has not disappointed. In fact, it has shocked and amazed me. I was just excited that I was keeping them alive. Honestly, I think Micah and I are keeping them alive.... But, to actually see real tomatoes on them is so exciting! We'll be eating fresh bruschetta in the fall...
As I crept out to the front porch this morning while it was still dark to peek at my little tomatoes, the song, "It's Never Too Late" by Three Days Grace was running through my head. The song was popular this past summer and I would hear it over and over on my tearful rides to and from Birmingham. "This world will never be what I expected... Now and again we just try to stay alive... Maybe we'll turn it all around cause it's not too late; It's never too late." My tomatoes in September prove that theory. Hope does indeed shine eternal. It's not too late. It's never too late.