This year I am trying to grow my tomatoes in containers. The side raised bed was shaded a bit too much by the neighbor’s overhanging tree last summer, so early this year I decided to dedicate that bed to herbs and partial-shade-agreeable vegetables. Of course, the neighbor — a good one — trimmed his tree about a month ago, so here I am with my tomatoes in containers and a side bed of herbs and lettuce that as far as I can tell are having a 24/7 party.
That’s an Italian Red Plum in the first picture, though it doesn’t look plumlike at all at this point. I’m not in the least surprised by this. One year I planted a Paul Robeson tomato (round beefsteak, chocolate brown) in the same bed as a bunch of heirloom plum tomatoes. I ended up with half chocolate plum tomatoes and a very confused beefsteak plant that produced a few plums, a couple big round ones, and then gave up completely in a Hollywood-worthy breakdown of wilt and spiders. The only things we were lacking were a DUI and rehab. (It’s a good thing tomato plants don’t know how to handle car keys.) There’s only so much cognitive dissonance that you can ask from people, much less plants.
Now this guy is an actual beefsteak plant, a snazzy hybrid that’s supposed to be able to withstand wilt, virus, pests, bacteria, molds, poor soils, intermittent watering, lightning strikes, bad interior design choices, nuclear armageddon and the zombie apocalypse. (Seriously, who writes those gardening catalogs?) It doesn’t seem to be too perturbed by the fact that it’s planted in a (potato bag).
Did I say that last part out loud? Well, don’t tell the tomatoes, they seem to be doing well so far. The Italian Red Plum has decided to be zebra-striped and entirely unplumlike? Cool with me. The hearty beefsteak has decided to produce many small fruits instead of a few big ones? Fine. The classic Roma across the way can’t decide whether it wants to set fruit or not (“I am a Glorious Magnificent Flower, Woman!)? Do what you will, dear.
After a few years of gardening, which makes me barely a novice, I am finally learning to stand still with my hands in my back pockets sometimes. Now if only I could apply that lesson in other parts of my life.