By June Mathews
Back in mid-spring, Jimmie and I went to a plant sale hosted by the local botanical gardens. We were in the market for a few things to spruce up the yard, and we also enjoy attempting – and I emphasize “attempting” – to grow some of our own food.
We’d been waiting for this particular sale to roll around before buying any seedlings. Not only were we looking for a good selection of healthy plants, but we always enjoy contributing to worthy causes with our purchases. It makes us feel as if we’ve gotten an extra bang for our buck and helped somebody at the same time.
Now even though we’ve never had much success growing our own edibles, we’ve so far refused to give up. So we walked into the building with heads held high, trying really hard to appear that we knew exactly what we were doing. Directed by one of the volunteer salespeople, we headed to the fruits and vegetables side of the building and took stock of our options.
After much debate over which plants we wanted to try our luck with this year, Jimmie selected two scrawny pepper plants, and I opted for two rather robust (in comparison) tomato plants. On our way to the checkout line, we picked up a Lady Banks rosebush and a couple colorful daisies.
But it was the vegetable plants we had come for, and we were smugly pleased with our choices in that regard. This would most certainly be our summer to feast directly from the vine.
As soon as we got home, I carefully removed the tomato plants from their tiny pots and lovingly planted them in a big pot with a wire trellis reserved such purposes. I talked to them and watered them and prayed they’d eventually render at least four viable tomatoes, which would be a record crop for me.
Jimmie opted to delay potting his pepper plants, leaving them sitting in an empty pot, where they remain to this day. He neither talked to them nor watered them, much less prayed for their production. Compared to the care I lavished on my tomato plants, Jimmie’s treatment of his pepper plants could conceivably be considered vegetable abuse.
But guess what?
Yep, those unattended, unloved, unplanted pepper plants are teeming with bright greenish-yellow produce.
And my tomato plants?
Well, I won’t say they’re total duds, but they’re mighty close. So far, only one lone runt of a tomato has made an appearance. Not even enough for a decent tomato sandwich. I don’t even like tomato sandwiches, but that’s beside the point. Those ungrateful tomato plants have let me down.
But hope springs eternal, and I’m still hoping to get another tomato or two out of the deal by summer’s end. If not, I’m trading vegetables with Jimmie next year.
In fact, I’ll probably do it anyway, no matter what those ornery tomato plants decide to do. As time goes by, the idea of cultivating easygoing, low maintenance pepper plants is becoming more and more appealing.
And putting Jimmie in charge of the tomato plants is just what they deserve. Give ‘em a taste of what it’s like to be ignored for a change. I bet they’ll grow for me after that.