|RIP Yellow GrapeTomato|
If that’s what you want to call it. What I have is not a garden, nor was it ever much of one to begin with. Despite my persistence, year and after year, the vigilant attempt to sow seeds and tend to them in the hopes of someday harvesting a tasty reward has sprouted nothing but terrible failure, weeds, and death.
By now, I had hoped to be sharing with you recipes that reflected the overflowing abundance of my garden’s bounty. But instead, as always, I’m staring at a scant patch of dirt, left only to imagine what might have been and wondering what I did wrong.
For their often short-lived lifespan, my plants reside in what I call the “pot garden.” No, it’s not because that is where I cultivate my marijuana, but because due to aesthetic conflicts and the lack of adequately sun-lit patches in my yard, I’m forced to plant everything in pots and shove them as far in the back as possible. I hate them. They frustrate me, and often get stuck with the blame of killing my barely-budded blossoms. Forget a pot garden; it’s more like a terra cotta graveyard.
Given my ill-fated history in horticulture, this year I only planted two pots: one for a few herbs, and the other for yellow grape tomatoes. I think the herbs were parsley, chives, basil, and maybe cilantro. I don’t even remember, and trust me; it doesn’t even matter at this point. I always start with seeds because when they actually do grow, it is very rewarding. I begin planting around the end of May when the threat of frost is no longer looming. Sometimes, I start the seeds a little earlier in the windowsill and repot them once their green stems are poking a few inches above the soil.
I try my hardest to provide my plants with everything they need--sunlight, water; I’ve even resorted to conversation, trying to coax them into growing. It works for Grandma; “You have to be nice to them,” she says. Apparently, the herbs weren’t having it. Maybe they were afraid to come out because of the crazy girl talking to them, or more rationally, were choked to death by the underlying abundance of weeds about to take over their humble abode.
I’d often trek all the way to the very back of the yard to check on the garden, when within just a few weeks of planting, I spotted a bunch of tiny green blades started to break the soil in the herb pot. Where those my herbs growing so quickly and abundantly? Could it really be? A few weeks more and still not an herb in sight, but there was an entire bush of clovers! Clover salad, anyone? Maybe for my rabbit, Spumoni.
So much for an herb garden this year—all I have to show for it is a pot of weeds, and even they’re dead! Either I am severely lacking a green thumb, or I live on a death yard filled with murderous soil. Pitiful. I had to at least have a basil plant, so we bought one. I’d love to be complaining about how my basil is just taking over the yard right now, but it’s doing merely OK in its little pot. Although it has yielded a decent amount of leaves after each picking, it’s slowly rotting away with drowning roots.
While the herb pot was being taken over by clovers, the yellow tomato pot was full of promise, growing taller every day. Soon, it began to flower. I was so proud! I visualized popping juicy yellow tomatoes into my mouth like candy, and could already see them on top of bruschetta, and in salads. I watched as little green tomatoes gradually made their way out into the sunlight and got bigger and bigger from week to week. And then, they just stopped.
About the size that a grape tomato should be, they never completely matured and remained green. I don’t know what happened. The slightest touch and the fruit fall from the branch. I am now sure that they aren’t going to turn yellow, and it just breaks my heart. They were almost there! Damn pots. Oh well, there’s always next year.
Woe is my lack of a garden.