I haven’t posted in awhile because I’ve been dealing with a series of cascading crises. It started with the tomato plague. I noticed that some of the tomatoes weren’t growing well, and were developing purplish veins on their leaves. Within a week or so, most of the tomato plants were developing purple veins and looking very unhappy. I showed pictures to a tomato expert and to the local Master Gardener’s program, and they agreed that it was probably tomato spotted wilt virus. Which is (a) deadly, (b) contagious, and (c) untreatable.
This would only have been seriously annoying, except that about 3/4 of my plants were the two nearly-extinct varieties that I was trying to preserve. Because I believe in hedging bets, I had given about ten plants to two friends, but there were closer to forty tomato plants in the middle of my plague-stricken garden.
So I took immediate action, and spent four days moving the apparently-uninfected tomatoes to a friend’s back yard, 30 miles away, and transplanting them into new containers.
Meanwhile, I had sent the photos to my friend Linda, who happens to be married to my ex. Rob (who is an expert botanist, among many other things) thought it might be a nutritional deficiency – magnesium or iron, possibly coupled with waterlogged soil in the bottom of the self-watering pots. Mike had also suspected a nutritional deficiency. So what the heck, right? The plants were already infected, so I had nothing to lose. I mixed up some Miracle Gro liquid fertilizer (which contains iron) and watered one of the stricken tomatoes with it.
Here’s what it looked like on the 11th:
Clearly dying, right?
Well, here’s what it looked like just one week after adding the fertilizer/iron supplement:
Yes, that’s right. Seven days!
So then I mixed up a lot more iron/magnesium supplement and watered it in. Five days later, all the tomatoes were looking normal and growing like mad. WOW. I had no idea that nutrient deficiencies could be that dramatic!
So yay! Crisis with a happy ending. The tomato plants are way behind where they should be at this stage, but I should be able to get fruits out of them, and that’s the only thing I care about this year – collecting seeds to keep the varieties going. And they are starting to flower!
The Fuzzy Mix are still adorable. Here’s one that’s flowering:
And here’s a slightly bigger one:
I was a bit concerned that they were flowering at such a small size, so I emailed Tim Peters, the breeder. He said that Fuzzy Mix is a determinate dwarf tomato! Which means it will stay small. And the fruits should be red and yellow striped. I can’t wait to see the ripe tomatoes – the plants are pretty now, but stick on a bunch of red and yellow striped tomatoes? Gorgeous. The perfect decorative tomato plant for people with limited space and a desire for pretty plants and tomatoes. Tim is a genius.
The Fruity Mix plants look much more like conventional tomatoes:
The wonderful thing about Fruity Mix is the incredible flavor of its tiny tomatoes, which unfortunately can’t be experienced all that well on a website. When the tomatoes are ripe, I’ll post one on Facebook so you can all taste it there. 😉
The rest of the time has been spent running around after other major crises – the latest one derailed me for nearly a week, which of course caused other things to become crises. Like the 90-minute lecture I’m scheduled to present in 11 days, which I had planned to write last week and which of course didn’t get done, turning it into this week’s crisis. I have the outline for it…does that count? 😉
So why am I working on this blog post? Well, the art of procrastination has a long and (uh, sort of) honorable history, and I needed a break. This was made clear to me a short while ago when someone came by and informed me that it was time for me to do my One Job, which (in this case) was giving him a belly rub.
“Fritz, I’m busy!” said the human.
“How can you possibly be busy?” said the cat. “Whatever you’re doing is not your One Job, and is therefore totally trivial, irrelevant and useless. So do your One Job! Because I want a belly rub.”
“But I’m busy! Go away, I’ll give you a belly rub later.” said the human, scritching his head and then going back to work.
“Okay, fine,” said the big black furry thing, jumping up onto the desk:
“I can’t see, Fritz! Get down!” complained the human.
“Okay, sure!” said Fritz:
“Fritz, how can I type when you’re sitting where my keyboard goes?” complained the frustrated human.
“Well, it’s only fair,” replied Fritz. “If I can’t get what I want, you shouldn’t be able to get what you want, either.”
“Okay, fine,” said the human. “I’ll just wait for you to get bored and go away.”
“Okay, said Fritz,”we’ll see who caves first.” And lay down for a nice long nap:
He got his belly rub, of course.
(Human vs. cat: cat always wins. Cat thinks human is really stupid for not having figured this out by now.)
Anyway, that made me realize I needed a break, so I wrote this much-delayed blog post. Now I need to get back to work…except that I see another cat coming by to inform me that it’s time to do my One Job.
Sigh…such is the life of a human cat-slave.
(Fortunately, I’m sure I’ll get my slide deck done in time. I know what I want to say, I just need to write it all down and add photos…if the cats will let me. Maybe I need two self-driving mice…)