Another Shovelful of Dirt on the Ol’ Grave: 2009 Tomato Crop a Total Failure

April 29, 2009

I planted more than 300 tomato plants this March.  Either 360 or 432 (5 or 6 flats) I can’t remember which. I don’t know what I would have done with 432 tomato plants, much less the fruit of 432 plants which could conceivably have borne some 8000 tomatoes if from each plant I picked 20, but I was so excited by the prospect of more red zebras, black plums, black zebras et al than we could ever possibly eat, the prospect of all those unearthly colors piled high that we could have eaten, and given away, and bartered for services (have tomatoes, will travel) that my already-too-prone-to-botanical-revery  judgment was clouded enough that it seemed perfectly reasonable that I might need 1400 purple moon tomatoes alone.

But alas, those dreams have come to naught. Of the 5 or 6 flats I planted, it looks like the cumulative total of less than one has sprouted. And that one is much smaller than all the other plants I’m seeing out there in the markets. Maybe this is the universe’s lesson for the year on Hubris and Greed and Gluttony.  Maybe a flat is all I needed and nature thinned the herd for me. Or maybe I’m just a klutz.

I was no technician when I planted the seeds.  I may have pushed them down the requisite 1/4 inch into the soil, or it may have been 1/2 inch — I was going too fast to tell. I’ve never had any plant be so finicky that an extra 1/4 inch made any difference at all (unless I didn’t know it — I’ve heard that an extra 1/8 of an inch with carrot seeds is enough to forfeit the game). So it may have been that — that I’m a sloppy-ass farmer.

Or it may have been the temperature I’ve been germinating them at, a pretty unsteady 50º to 80º, has been too cool.  They like it between 75º and 90º.

My flimsy coldframe wasn’t tight enough to manage consistency like that, especially the night the blizzard caved it in and I had to scoop snow off the seedlings.  Hmmm.  Might that not have been it?  Der.

Whatever it was, a thing I’ve been so looking forward to for 9 months (no relation!) has come to naught, and now I have to wait another year to see if I can get it done right the second time. I have wasted a tomato year of my life. One year closer to not having any more tomatoes ever. 8000 less tomatoes total for this poor, lonely, infertile boy.

O, Death
Won’t you spare me over til another year.

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