tuh-may-toe or tah-mah-toe

No matter how you pronounce it, maybe you can help me!

   My husband and I plowed ground five years ago and planted a garden. It would be the first time we did so in our married life because my dad, as well as his dad, always supplied us with more then we could usually consume from their respective gardens. But that particular year, we decided to grow our own. We plowed and worked the soil, selected all of the seeds from a local seed store and planted our garden in hopes of harvesting our own fruits from our labor.  We tended the garden like it was our newborn. Our dad’s had always made the feat of harvesting summer veggies look so effortless and beautiful.  We felt sure our genetic make-up, stemming from these two fine gardeners, would surely have imbedded in us so that we too would harvest an abundance of ripened tomatoes, squash, eggplant, sweet corn, peas, okra, watermelon and cucumber. Much to our dismay, it was a complete failure. It was all going so well, that was until the temperature began to rise, bugs started to make cozy little homes on our flourishing little plants and disease strangled out what had survived the bugs.  It was utter disapointment.  The next year we were resilient in our determination to make our garden grow.  It was now us against them, bugs and disease that is.  That year would also be the same year we opened our other newborn, Sweet P’s Eats and Treats.  I bet you can all guess what happened next.  Our priorities shifted and again our little garden, that could, failed!

So, here I am several years down the road and lots of miles under my feet trying to master the “garden” again.  Except this year, it’s tiny. I decided to start with baby steps. I thought the pressure of defeat wouldn’t sting as bad if I kept it simple. But, I dislike defeat and I’m competitive by nature. I like to win so I refuse to go down easy.  This is where you come in. Can you help me win the war I’ve mustered up against my rebelling tomato plants?  If there’s anyone and I mean anyone (young, old, smart or not) that knows anything about tomatoes please give me a suggestion. I have a recipe for a Tomato Pie that has been whispering my name for several weeks and urging me to go….go pick…..some tomatoes…..from the…..tomato plants! But there are NO TOMATOES!

Problem: The tomato plants are big but they’re leggy, when the leaves should be broad and bush like.

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Their leaves are cupped

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and they aren’t producing anything. I take that back, a few are producing some tomatoes but nothing like they should be.

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Actually, the only ones making anything are the small variety tomatoes like Tiny Tim’s, Romas and Grape Tomatoes.

My Better Boys, Big Boys, Mortgage Lifters along with a few others, aren’t producing anything.

These are the suggestions from all of the wonderful gardeners I know, which by the way aren’t experiencing a lick of trouble out of their tomato plants. Zilch, Zero, NONE!

•  I’ve been told that they got too much water with all the rain in the month of May.

•  I’ve been told they weren’t getting enough water.

•  I’ve been told they have a disease.

•  I’ve been told they don’t like their soil.

•  I’ve been told they need fertilizer.

•  I’ve been told they don’t get enough direct sunlight before 10:00 a.m.

•  I’ve been told that they get too much direct sunlight in the late evening.

•  I’ve been told they would prefer pretty marigolds planted around them.

• Today, my friend told me that they don’t like the cages that they’re in. Tomatoes prefer steaks.

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“What’d you say Willis?”………sorry Tuck, I meant to say stakes! They prefer to be staked and lightly tied with twine.

So, I stopped watering them. Watered them some more. Aimlessly wondered around them trying to figure out which disease they may have, so I could then google a way to combat it, with failing luck. I added the expensive “miracle” soil, that I will not name, along with some “miracle” fertilizer that will also go nameless. I told them they were out of luck on the sun positioning because there was absoulutely nothing I could do with that problem. Finally last but not least, I accented them with the most beautiful accessory a tomato plant could ever ask for, marigolds.  But now there’s the stake issue. While I resolve that problem maybe you have a suggestion, please let me hear from you!

There may be a tomato pie recipe in your future if I can harvest atleast 1 large tomato this year.

With Love,

Your Tomato Challenged Friend Kadra