March 17, 2004

Up for adoption.

Is there anyone in the Bay Area on whom I can foist some lovely young tomato plants, and maybe some pepper plants as well?

What happened to me here was a classic case of, "I hear you, but I don't believe you." I read the directions on the backs of the seed packets that said COVERAGE WITH THIS PACKET 50 FEET, looked at my yard with maybe 30 feet of plantable area total, and went ahead and planted every seed in each of 5 packets anyway. The onions and basil have died off in large numbers, and by the time I got to the greens and beans I realized my mistake and only planted a few seeds. But this leaves me with 16 tomato plants still growing in my living room after I've moved all the ones I had room for into the yard. I've got 14 assorted bell peppers and something like 30 assorted hot peppers, and I haven't even started planting those outside.

The peppers aren't a tremendously big problem. They're slow growers and are still young enough that I can stand to pluck them out in the interest of reduced pepper population, although the sweet peppers are starting to show enough personality that it will be difficult soon. But it's the tomatoes that are really breaking my heart, because they're pushing 6 inches tall and have those beautiful fuzzy stems and that distinctive tomato-plant smell. I can't kill them now; it's crossed the line from abortion to infanticide. I can't leave them in their communal pots to get their roots all tangled up and strangle each other; it's cruel. I can transplant maybe one or two more into the front and side yards, and then I'll have to stop to leave room for the rest of my plants, or it'll be the same heart-rending problem all over again.

Let me introduce you to the dramatis personae, the adorable round-faced urchins clamoring for a loving home with you. The tomatoes are mixed heirloom beefsteaks (Brandywine, Amana Orange, and Evergreen) and are old enough to be planted outside or kept in big pots or milk jugs by themselves. They like sun, and they'll eventually need poles or stakes to stay upright. They will, if I know anything about heirloom tomatoes, be some fucking big tomatoes when they start to fruit. The sweet peppers are mixed bells (green, red, gold, purple and white), and they're young enough to be kept in cups for a little while longer. If you'd like to plant them outside they should be old enough for that pretty much any time now, and they shouldn't need poles to stay upright. The hot peppers are a mix of Hungarian Wax, Red Cayenne, Cherry, Anaheim, and Jalapeno. They're just seedlings right now, so they're not causing too much of a space problem, but if you know my taste for spices you'll understand how few of them I really need to keep.

If you'd like to take any of these plants, just let me know which ones and how many. I'll transplant them into appropriate containers, label them, and even send you home with instruction sheets if you'd like. If you're someone who has any reason to be in Berkeley you can come get them off of my front porch if you so desire, or if you're someone I see elsewhere I can bring them along the next time I see you. I'm not only eager to deliver them to anyone who wants them, I'm unemployed and have all the time in the world to traipse around the Bay Area with handfuls of plants.

Tell all your friends! Be the first on your block to grow your very own salsa! Come on, please?

Posted by dianna at March 17, 2004 12:10 PM

i'm warily interested in the tomatoes. i don't have a patch of soil to my name but i could put them in big pots on my roof. however, this will mean they'll be in direct sun. is that good for tomatoes? also, i will try really hard not to but it's still possible that i will kill them. so if you have another offer then that's the way to go.

Posted by: didofoot at March 17, 2004 12:28 PM

Tomatoes love direct sun, so that should be fine. They'll need pretty big pots if they're going to be potted plants forever-- I've got one pot that I can give you that should be big enough, and I can keep my eyes peeled for more. As for the accidentally killing, it's fine. I've killed 90% of my basil already. As long as you try, I promise I won't be upset.

How many tomato plants would you warily like, anyway?

Posted by: dianna at March 17, 2004 12:45 PM

how about you lend me the pot for the duration of the planty life, and give me enough tomatoes to fill it? (and i will take you up on the instructions too.)

i'll be at jason's tonight - you want to bring it?

Posted by: didofoot at March 17, 2004 01:10 PM

Bring it! Yeah! Come on!

Er, right. The pot I'm thinking of is, I think, only big enough for one tomato plant. So I will bring you Care And Feeding Of Your Tomatoes instructions and one plant in one pot (or maybe two plants in two pots if I can find another good one, because one plant would just be SO lonely). Does that sound okay?

Posted by: dianna at March 17, 2004 01:36 PM

excellent. thank you. (hopefully michele will give me a ride home. otherwise you're walkin, plant!)

Posted by: didofoot at March 17, 2004 02:12 PM

Hmmm. Maybe I'd better only bring you one plant. Although if I brought you two, maybe they could leapfrog home while you walked sedately alongside, smiling indulgently.

I fell prey to the advice of the cute hippie garden-section employee at OSH, who told me that anything smaller than a 14" pot would be too cramped for a happy tomato plant. So I've got some fucking big pots now. I'm not even sure I've got enough potting soil to fill two of them. On the plus side, though, I have confirmation that you can actually keep happy tomato plants in permanent pots. Guys? That should mean more of you should be volunteering. Come on. Do it. Do it for the cute hippie OSH employee?

Posted by: dianna at March 17, 2004 04:30 PM

Unfortunately, Boston is prohibitively far from Berekely. If I were already in Santa Barbara, I might be able to convince myself to visit various people in Berkeley so as to procure some free veggies, but alas, I won't be there for several months yet, and I see your problem being somewhat more immediate.

Alack and alas.

Posted by: Chris at March 17, 2004 06:51 PM

Jesus H. Christ, why don't these things have a goddamn spellcheck?

Posted by: Chris at March 17, 2004 06:52 PM

That is a problem. I appreciate your willingness, though, and think you should still do some visiting when you actually are on this coast. Actually, if you time it right, you may be able to procure some free veggies in veggie form instead of plant form. Think about it. You can do your thinking in pictures, if it helps.

Posted by: dianna at March 17, 2004 09:05 PM

unless i can hydroponic [not really a verb, to my knowledge] that shit in a corner of my office at work, i don't think that i can help...i'm not home enough to care for any living things other than myself (and even that's been a challenge). i'm not even sure that my superiors would be all that excited about anything at all being grown hydroponically [not an adverb, either, according to Safari(tm)...which can go fuck itself in its TCP socket, or something] on-lab. see? this is the kind of close-mindedness that i have to deal with each and every day.

Posted by: Erik at March 18, 2004 08:28 PM