Saturday, August 15, 2009
Horticulture Without a License
In the begining there was a gift, the gift of a tomato plant of unknown kind. And yea, so the plant grew and grew and had to be repotted. And yea, it grew some more and flowers bloomed and faded and became fruit (or vegetable, as I classify it). And the plant was in the biggest pot I owned, which wasn't very big, and it wasn't black either, as I learned it should be. Nor did I have enough sun for it so I moved the plant into the sun during the day, but not if a storm was coming for it was very exposed to the elements and wind and very vulnerable.
I went to a local nursery, and he gave me some good plant food but said my plant should be fine in the pot in which I had it, and so I waited and fed it and watched the fruit. But it's been a cool summer here (a blessed, cool summer!) which is great for us, but unfortunately, not so great for tomatoes.
Well, in the last couple days, the plant has tipped over a couple times in the wind. Once it fell off a plant pedestal I was using to keep it off of the hot pavement. The other time it was solidly on the ground, tipped over and even popped out of its pot (5 minutes before it had been FINE!)
Well, Tommy the tomato plant (as I've decided to name him) isn't doing so well now and it's totally my fault.
Let me say this first: I do NOT have a green thumb and the fact that I've eaten 1 ripe (albeit small) tomato from this plant is a HUGE BLESSED SUCCESS for me! But there are more tomatoes on it, one I had to toss (black on the bottom), and one green one that fell of in one of the plant falls. I think my plant has osteoplantitis from the bad treatment it's received.
Anyway, today, in desperation, I bought a much bigger pot (unfortunately not black or dark colored, couldn't find the right size in those), and lots of potting soil and returned home to repot my tomato plant. At some point in the process I heard a "snap!" and initially didn't discover the problem. Everything seemed to be in place. So I wrestled with the dirt and resetting poor Tommy, and still think I did it badly, although I did truly do my best. (Seriously, this is the hugest plant I've ever transplanted and I'm not sure he'll survive the trauma.)
Well, in looking at the plant, what I'd at first thought was a branch was actually...uh oh...a vertical split at the base of the stalk, right before the spot where all the branches sprouted.
Thinking back to tree grafts I've seen, I grabbed a couple bamboo sticks and put them into the plant to support the branches to take the stress off the stalk, and then took some string and wound it around the branch and stalk to "press" the damaged area back together. Certainly if I don't do something, it would just split up the middle as the branches grow heavier. If they continue to grow.
So, for all you tomato specialists, I have a few questions:
1. Is there a tomato plant ER somewhere? Can I buy tomato plant insurance or is it too late?
2. Does my plant have osteoplantitis due to my negligence?
3. Is there a horticulturist's code, something along the lines of "first do no harm?"
4. If there is, can I be sued for horticultural malpractice?
5. Does it matter that I don't have a license to practice horticulture and did it anyway in order to avoid the expense of the insurance premiums and copays?
6. Is Tommy going to die because I broke him? Or will my "graft" actually be effective and does the plant have the ability to "heal" like trees or other plants can with a proper "graft"?
OK...I await the bad news. Just give it to me straight.......
Dang. I'm hungry and craving tomatoes and now I'll never have ANY! *tears*