Why do I feel like that should have been the first line of a post-apocalyptic novel and not an entry on my gardening blog?
I went for a walk with a girlfriend this week , the requisite 2 meters from each other. She is growing tomatoes this year, again, after several frustrating and unsuccessful attempts in past years. Tomatoes are such a staple and having enough to freeze or can is valuable. We talked a bit, about light requirements, fertilizer, and then it hit me. Pruning. She was unaware of the difference between determinate and indeterminate varieties. Knowing which you are growing is crucial to success.
Determinate tomatoes or bush tomatoes grow to perhaps 4 feet tall. They put out almost all of their fruit at once,which ripens and then the plant is done. These plants are pruned minimally – or you end up cutting off the potential fruit.
The other main growth pattern is Indeterminate, which continue growing until frost. If the soil, weather and fertilizer permit they can grow up to 10 feet, producing new fruit all the time. They need to be pruned and staked or the plant will set too many new branches and rob the fruit of strength. https://theprovince.com/life/homes/making-sense-of-tomato-growth-patterns
The seed package should tell you which category your variety is.
This week I started several different varieties of tomatoes, determinate, indeterminate, 2 paste, and a cherry tomato which is fun for the kids to just pick & pop. ( No one is coming to visit so I can cover tables with plant trays and grow lights). I pretty much live on Greek Salad in the summer and picking fresh tomatoes and cucumbers off the vine is a treat. That said, last year’s cucumbers were a disappointment and I had to buy cucumbers for 2 months. Gardening is all about perseverance, knowledge and hope and there is an amazing store of information out there.
I want to be like those indeterminate tomatoes, I want to keep on growing and producing fruit as long as I live. I like that Jesus said in John 15.1 …” My father is the gardener.” When I am out working in the garden I think about Him pruning me, fertilizing, looking out for pests. That I might bear fruit and glorify him. In so many ways I seem helpless to change myself – but He is faithful.
I remember an old Raffi song – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0BkuK-lm0f0 that demonstrates this. We don’t usually see growth happen – not in ourselves. Having been part of the same faith community for nearly 40 years – I look around at the people that have walked this path with me and I am blown away by the beauty and richness of their character. Psalm 92: 12 – 15 “…They will still yield fruit in old age. They will be full of sap and very green.”
Liistening to a bit of Raffi now and this one is pretty profound too. Especially now, when we are being forced to recignize what is really important in our lives. https://www.youtube.com/wath?v=qZB96eDhhF0 Grab your kids and sing-along. Many decades ago I took my then 2 year old daughter to her first concert – Raffi – at a library in Oakville, Ontario. (She’s loved concerts ever since). His music has delighted several generations of kids – I love it’s innocence, and cheerful joyfulness.
Let’s all use this time as wisely as possible. I’m sure it’s stressful for many and if that’s you, call a friend, pray, do something you’ve never done before. Be stretched. Grow.