Tuesday, October 2, 2007

The Twins

Here they are, Coffee Mates. Let me introduce you to The Twins. I transplanted two of the little Grape tomato babies yesterday. Yes, two of them. I know I was supposed to be ruthless and narrow it down to one plant but these two were sort of entwined together and I figured they must be twins. Couldn't bring myself to separate them. So we have Gilbert and Gladys Grape, at your service. Whence the name? "What's Eating Gilbert Grape" is one of my favorite Johnny Depp movies -- right up there with "Choclat." No, he didn't have a twin in the movie but the script writers didn't know everything.

I learned quite a lot with yesterday's indoor gardening session and the related Googling. One thing I learned was I should have Googled a bit more thoroughly before I got the Grape tomato seeds. For an indoor pot tomato, I should really have latched on to a determinate type, the bush style that has a limited growth pattern. The Grape is an INdeterminate, which means its vines can sprawl all over the flippin' place. Ah well. Live and learn, eh?

One of the things I did was to gather all my potting soil together and sterilize it, just to make sure the bad bits, if any, were properly demolished. Some of that potting soil is pretty old so who knows what evil lurked there. Research gave me two different methods of sterilization, one for the oven and one for the microwave. Both involved getting the soil to 180 degrees fairyheight and holding it there for 20 minutes. Then I stumbled across a method offered by a Master Gardener at the HGTV site. He says to pour boiling water over the soil, let it drain, then do it again. Well, that saved a lot of time and effort, let me tell you.

So there I was, with a big bowl of freshly sterilized potting soil, gradually cooling off. To which I added a batch of the water gel crystals that I had hydrated with water dosed with MiracleGro fertilizer. Then, just because 'maters like acid soil, I tossed in some used coffee grounds and mixed it all up in one big batch. Looks mighty good, too.

I hope Gilbert and Gladys like it. They look mighty tiny and lonesome all by themselves in that big pot. I've been telling them they'll fill the space in no time, they're getting so much nutrition. So far, they seem to believe me. Please don't anybody tell them I don't have a flippin' clue about what I'm doing.

At least I'm ahead of the game on knowing what to do to pollinate the blossoms when they start coming on. A friend of mine once grew a tomato plant indoors and it was really impressive. Stood as tall as his sliding glass door and he got a lot of 'maters off of it. His wife couldn't stop laughing when she told me how he would spend incredible amounts of time tickling each individual blossom with a Q-tip to make sure it was pollinated properly. "Doing his honey bee routine," she called it.

I don't have the heart to tell him I've learned you pollinate the indoor tomatoes by tapping gently but firmly on the stems and branches to make the pollen fall. Besides, I'm not at all sure I won't do the same thing -- just in case. Buzzzz, buzzzzz ...


John Bailey said...

Absolutely love the mental picture of you flitting from bloom to bloom with polination q-tip, Dee!

Dee said...

Hmmm ... in your mental picture, John, am I dressed in green, by any chance? This may be as close as I can get to indulging my inner Peter Pan. (smile)

Jo said...

Ah, someone else who loves the "What's Eating Gilbert Grape?" My favorite, too. But that's because the family in the movie was sooooo my family. But we didn't have the dad hang himself in the basement, although we would have liked him to. That was my ex-husband. And the character Leonardo DiCaprio played wasn't in my family either but my youngest son liked to imitate him.

About the indoor planting, I was asking Bill earlier this summer why couldn't we do that. I guess we could.

bb said...

Shouldn't standard tomato cages keep them in bounds?

Dee said...

Jo, go for it. Even mini-gardening is good for the soul!

Bonnie, I'm sure the cages would work fine but that's going to depend on what size pot I end up with -- and what location seems to work best. I might set up the greenhouse method where the vines work their way up strings attached to something overhead. Too bad I can't hang 'em from a hook in the ceiling. That would solve the problem!