Monday, August 11, 2008

The Great Tomato Disaster

My first foray as a gardener has wholeheartedly FAILED!!!!!

I may be a pretty good triathlete, a fairly decent cook who continues to learn, a semi-computer geek who likes databases, and a wine and cheese connoisseur, but as a gardener, it's plain and simple: I sucked this year.

The only thing that has been bright and plentiful is my basil.

The green, full tomato plants I so excitedly took pictures of a couple months ago have, um...well..I won't take a picture because it's just sad. I've pulled out 3 out of the 6 plants and laid them to rest. I'm considering yanking the other 3 as well.

Basically I learned the following:
  • When using half wine barrels as planters, it is wise to drill holes in the bottom. Particularly before your plants start dying.
  • Organic pest spray (for white flies and aphids, which I had BOTH of) is crap. Use the real stuff. You're going to wash your tomatoes anyway.
  • When using half wine barrels, it may be wise to consider lining them, as it is possible acid from the wine can leach into the soil (this is a guess on my part).
  • Consider using high quality soil and not stuff from Ace Hardware. I believe in addition to poor drainage and pests, my poor plants didn't have enough nutrients in the soil and lacked nitrogen.
  • Don't over water tomatoes. Just don't.
Sigh. Oh and I yielded ONE cucumber out of TWO cucumber plants! WTF?!? They produced tons of flowers, but no cucs. I yanked those, too. My pepper plant has one and a half peppers and it has suddenly stopped growing. However, the mystery here lies in the fact that the pepper plant is in its own pot, not in the wine barrels. So again, I come back to soil and nutrients.

Now I have all this basil and no tomatoes and I'll have to go to the farmer's market to buy somebody ELSE'S home-grown tomatoes. Or go visit my mom and pick some off her plants.

Live and learn!

11 comments:

Soda said...

Remind me to bring you some tomatoes this weekend, we can't eat them fast enough at my house. My mom has the green thumb, not me. So sad when so much hope goes to waste!

Rainmaker said...

I'm also confused with my tomatoes. The actual fruits themselves are still growing, but by all accounts the plants themselves look deadish. Very odd. But like you, I'm also having great success with basil. I may have fallen victim to overwatering too, but I only watered when the pot looked dry. Odd. Everything was simple last year, this year...not so much.

rocketpants said...

BUMMER! Sorry to hear that the tomatoes didn't turn out. I'm sure in the future you will get it right.

Kelly said...

aww. at least you tried.

Lee said...

Sorry about the tomatoes but call it a learning experience and hang in there. I have 4 plants that are huge with a ton of green fruit that seems to want to stay green. I may shopping at the Farmers Market myself. On the other hand, my zucchini is being quite prolific so go figure.

Katie Weaver-Jongerius said...

Dang it! Should I go raid my mother-in-laws garden and ship some to you?! There is PLENTY to go around!

Christine said...

I hear you on the gardening thing! Our balcony garden experiment failed too. I do think that the nutrients thing is a big deal and I think it is that much harder when the plants are in containers (be it a wine barrel, planter box, etc). Check out the CSA's around you. I found 2 in Santa Rosa for you http://www.tierravegetables.com/index.html
http://www.valleyendfarm.com/

I'm doing eatwellfarm and terrafirmafarms but they only do Bay Area and Sac.

Mel said...

UMMM...stick to being a good triathlete and leave the gardening to the farmers:) Well at least you tried..I would never try to attempt a garden....

pedro said...

if it makes you feel any better, and I doubt it will; i'm the worst gardener ever. I can kill a cactus, and a bamboo shoot.

and what you learned is right on.

if have some basil to unload, let me know, it's about home made pesto'clock

Chris Westall said...

Sorry to hear about the Tomatos! Look for a Farmers Co-Op... where you can trade. There's a bunch up north... you bring basil and trade it for other veggies. Everyone wins.

triguyjt said...

sarah...enjoy the 100 k napa ride this week......

I tried green peppers and got some about 2-3 inches long...but pretty lame....I am gonna try again...get a bigger garden to grow them in...

thanks for your kind words at my blog...I'll drop you in my blogroll, if thats okay...

Have a great day