I didn’t have the heart to kill them off, so I dug out my lights and heat mat and set up an Intensive Tomato Care unit. And while I was at it, I got some Asian Trio Eggplant and Baby Belle Peppers started to keep them company and give encouragement.
By April the babies were thriving and getting quite big, so I moved them all to the old greenhouse at the close-in farm where I board my horses and there’s lots of rich composted manure to nourish greedy growing teenage tomatoes. I had no trouble finding eager adoptive homes for all but two that I saved for myself. Things were looking promising for a big crop of luscious heirlooms.
Mother Nature played her tricks on us again however and the promises of a great garden season were dashed with our worst May in memory – unending cold and rain - a gardener’s nightmare. Early planted seeds rotted, seedlings sulked, the ground saturated. My poor garden looks bare and very sad indeed.
But we Western Washington gardeners are a tough, determined, and some would say delusional bunch, always grasping at the elusive but tantalizing possibility of still getting enough sun and heat in the summer to coax a harvest of our own heat-loving veggies rather than relying on imports from our Southern brethren. So despite all odds, I planted my tomatoes out on a deceptively warm dry weekend. Time will tell – but I have a feeling these two have what it takes to make it, despite their difficult childhood, and I am rooting for them…..
So on this wet and grey Memorial Day, I can only look back at this photo of my lovely tomatoes from last year's glorious summer and remember that, for gardeners, there's always next year.