Wednesday, July 9, 2008

My First Tomato of the Season: Old Before Its Time

*sniff* Here's my first tomato of 2008.

When I first spotted my little tomato, the first on any of my plants, a warm, happy feeling washed over me. I couldn't help but smile. There it was. A real tomato, growing on my vines! I did exactly what the old man at the garden center told me to do. And now, I would harvest the fruit of his years of tomato-growing experience! I would enjoy tomatoes this year like no year before! I was now in possession of the SECRET INGREDIENT!
You see, I was looking through the seemingly endless variety of tomatoes when, out of nowhere, an elderly man called to me from across the parking lot. He was getting into his car with an armload of tomatoes, himself. "You want the Better Boys," he called.

"Better Boys?" I asked hesitantly, in case he had really been talking to someone else.

He nodded. "Yep. The Better Boys. Plant them deep ... with Epsom Salts mixed in."

"Epsom Salts?" I asked.

"Yep. Epsom Salts," he repeated. Then said again, "Plant them deep."

He got in his car and drove away.

So I took his mysterious advice and bought Better Boys. I bought a carton (well, really two cartons, but they were small) of Epsom Salts. I planted them deep. (Well, okay, not that deep really. I had to plant them in pots this year ... but I planted them as deep as a pot will allow. I'll say that!) Then I watered them and put Miracle Gro on them.
I was iffy on the Epsom Salts when some of the leaves started turning yellow. I shrugged. "The old man distinctly said Epsom Salts, so I'll wait and see." I thought to myself.
And the plants grew green again. And they got taller and wider! And tiny yellow flowers started blooming!
And then, best of all, little tomatoes started showing up here and there. I kept my eye on the first one. It was beautiful! And it grew round and fat. But it stayed green. It stayed green for a couple of weeks. I kept wondering when the heck it would start to get red! Then, while it was still as green as a grasshopper, it started getting wrinkles on it. And then more wrinkles. It was aging before it even ripened!
Sadly, by the time it turned red, it had a big split in the bottom and a hole in it, too.
Hm. Epsom Salts ... Secret Ingredient or ... Sabotage!?!?


Ariel said...

That's a very not happy tomato. I had to go look up epsom salt and tomatoes. Take a look at this.....

At least it wasn't sabatoge. :-)

Susan said...

Oh the epsom salts thing was a good idea, it's magnesium and I use it on the roses,too. The problem with your tomato is uneven watering. That's what makes them crack. You can't control the weather!

Mama Niccicoco said...

very interesting! I have never heard that before! Maybe he thought they would be in the ground instead of a pot...I think your little tomato is cute!