Hope Springs Eternal

by Stefani on 24-March-2009

I intended only to plant herbs this year. Herbs I can do. Herbs I've had some success with, despite the fact that our yard gets virtually no sun. I was resigned to the fact that I'm just going to have to buy my vegetables since I can't get them to grow. I told myself that I can still enjoy the farmers markets. I can still make jelly and can salsa. I can still blanche and freeze the beans that my mother-in-law will bring to  me (right Grandmother?). 

And then I went to pick up my herbs, and somehow 4 tomato plants jumped in my cart. I don't really know how that happened because surely *I* would have not done that. I mean, *I* know better. I know that no matter how much I love tomatoes, no matter how much I even love the SMELL of tomato vine, they will NOT grow in my yard. 

There must have been some kind of "buy a boatload of herbs and get 4 tomato plants free" deal, right? 


Oops, I Did It Again.

You know, I've heard it said that the definition of insanity is when you keep doing the same thing, expecting to get a different result. 

But then you knew I was a little cracked, right?
Kristin March 24, 2009 at 6:41 am

Think of it as a learning year…try different stuff and locations with each tomato plant. Who knows what could happen? Use lots of compost and crushed up egg shells and maybe even plant in containers so that you can place them in the sunniest spots you have. I’m sure with enough of your and your boys’ nurturing you’ll have some delicious tomatoes to enjoy!

laura Lee March 24, 2009 at 6:49 am

that happens to me too… stuff jumping into my cart! 🙂 happened just yesterday with a pack of M&Ms.
But maybe the tomatoes will like being in with the herbs… plant them next to the basil and they’ll take on that flavor! I enjoy your blog!

Mama Urchin March 24, 2009 at 6:51 am

I agree with the container idea. There must be some spots in your yard that get some sun. Put the pots on wheels and let your boys move them around the yard chasing the sun.

Sarah March 24, 2009 at 7:05 am

I have the greatest intentions of having an herb garden this spring/summer. I’ve got to get on that. I agree with Mama Urchin’s idea…have the boys and tomatoes chase the sun!

elissa March 24, 2009 at 7:37 am

oh, the smell of a tomato vine would win over even the SANEST of gardeners!

Kobey March 24, 2009 at 7:45 am

I don’t know about insanity but today it feels like the definition of motherhood… “Honey, you need to cover your mouth when you cough” “Sweet pea, no jumping on the sofa” “NO! we don’t torture your brother!” And then one day … they decide to cover their mouth when they cough.

How about beside the mailbox/road?
I am debating about tomatoes too. My very nice but slightly confused older neighbor picked & ate most of mine last year.

golden March 24, 2009 at 8:33 am

Another vote for containers so you can put them anywhere there is sun in your yard.

Lynnette March 24, 2009 at 8:41 am

I think they sell basil and tomatoes as a package, don’t they? =)

I yearn for a green thumb and I do for the spring.. but then summer hits and it dries up and so do my plants. This year my husband and MIL got their hands dirty too.. so maybe when other people water it will water ours too.. we planned it that way with irrigation water.

Strawberries are my “tomatoes”. On year I killed 54 because I bought two boxes of 25 before I could get them in the ground and they died in the boxes. But every year I think, ” It’s a new year, maybe they won’t die this time…?”

Best of luck and enjoy the pesto and tomato sauce that will grace your table.

debbieR March 24, 2009 at 9:13 am

Funny! I don’t think that it is insanity I just think learning curve…right? Don’t they also say you have to learn from mistakes? Can’t learn if you don’t make any.

So, I dunno why..but I never thought of blanching and freezing my own vegetables. Duh!!!
I was wondering though…what do YOU store them in when you do that? Just a little curious because I am going to try this out this year! Thanks for what seems like an obvious tip to someone who was otherwise OBLIVIOUS! 🙂

Kelly March 24, 2009 at 9:22 am

Well, I guess I’d better pull my nutty rocker up next to yours because this is exactly what I do *every year* . Hauling lovely, healthy tomato plants on down to our house – and then undoubtedly sending them to their unfulfilled deaths…;)
And bare feet?! Heavenly!

Catherine March 24, 2009 at 10:40 am

Is there room to put your tomatoes the same place that you are putting your herbs? Your herbs all require sun. Using a container is a great idea because of portability. My friend bought one of those earthboxes and had tomatoes to die for last year. Good luck!

PS Things are always jumping in my cart at the garden center too – which is why my yard overfloweth. I’m definitely an obsessive gardener.

Stefani March 24, 2009 at 10:53 am

Yes well… trouble is, we’ve had a number of learning years. And what I think I’m SUPPOSED to be learning is that you can’t make stuff grow where it doesn’t want to grow.
Last year was a bad tomato year for everyone in Austin though, so Im going to give it one last go. Maybe containers instead of beds…
Thanks for the egg shell tip! We’ve certainly got lots of those!

Amber Carrillo March 24, 2009 at 10:54 am

I’m crazy too….I’m thinking about doing another garden again this year – even though I kill everything every year! Our problem is too much sun 🙂 oh and that I always forget to water 🙂

Stefani March 24, 2009 at 10:54 am

Oh those dang M&Ms! Was it the peanut ones? Those naughty peanut ones do like to jump in carts!

Stefani March 24, 2009 at 10:55 am

We get lots of filtered sun… it just doesn’t seem to be enough. Maybe I could put them in pots out in the street and have the boys move them when cars are coming 🙂 Of course child protective services might frown on that.

Vintage Chica March 24, 2009 at 10:56 am

He, he…OK, I have the funniest picture in my head of your boys toting huge pots of tomatoes all around your yard trying to keep in the ever moving sunlight. Can’t blame a girl for trying.

Stefani March 24, 2009 at 10:56 am

She at them?
Of course you remember our neighbor right? The one that puts his trash in our bin because he doesn’t want to pay for his own service?

Maybe by the mailbox… won’t be too attractive, but if it means I’ll have tomatoes, I don’t even care.

Our Green Nest March 24, 2009 at 10:57 am

Good luck with your herbs and tomatoes this year!!! It’s such a great feeling to plant and hope for something to come from it, isn’t it?

Stefani March 24, 2009 at 10:57 am

Oh you and I would get along well… you’ve got the same sickness that I do!

Stefani March 24, 2009 at 10:58 am

I just lay them on a towel to dry a little and then pop them in quart freezer bags. Easy as pie!

Stefani March 24, 2009 at 10:59 am

When I checked out the cashier said, “Gonna do some gardening?” I said, “Nope, just gonna kill some plants.”
🙂 I figure if your expectations are low, any harvest at all will come as a surprise 🙂

Stefani March 24, 2009 at 11:00 am

We’ve had them in the same place for two years running. The herbs do great, but the tomatoes flop. We get some filtered sun, and that seems to be okay for the herbs, but not enough for the tomatoes.

earth boxes, huh? Gonna have to look into that.

Aunt LoLo March 24, 2009 at 11:27 am

Oh, I feel you pain!! I won’t plant anything but herbs this year – my basil and parsley were the ONLY things that weren’t included in the Deer Salad Bar last summer.

meg March 24, 2009 at 11:53 am

Oh, you’ve made me so happy! My garden has been the tomato killing fields for the past three years. And I killed the mint. (They said it couldn’t be done. I did it.) The parsley and basil were successes, though, so I think I’m limiting myself to that this year. BUT – I really want the tomatoes!! I just don’t think I can take the disappointment again, though….

Best wishes to you! This will be the year! 🙂

Teesa March 24, 2009 at 12:06 pm

That’s hilarious. I think that definition of insanity it spot-on. I hope you can find a sunny spot for your tomatoes. Have you ever tried a patio garden? I had some real success with it last year, since I lived in a triplex and had no land. But, you can move the pots around to get better sun and our tomatoes turned out great. Just an idea.

brit March 24, 2009 at 12:54 pm

I”m just jealous you can grow pesto…I mean basil in your yard..sigh

Jen March 24, 2009 at 1:48 pm

That is my favorite definition you know…

gina March 24, 2009 at 2:18 pm

me too..insane.

Lorilee Kopp March 24, 2009 at 5:00 pm

you are so lucky! it’s not herb time here yet, but I can’t wait! picking herbs from a garden and using them in cooking is so satisfying 🙂

SpiderWomanKnits March 24, 2009 at 6:08 pm

If we get around to planting our garden this year (baby is due April 24th!) we are growing ours upside down this year. Not like the cheesy Topsy Turvy TV thing but like this…


Only we want to do it in galvanized buckets. A lot of people have had great success with this method. The only downside is you have to water more frequently.

Good luck! It’s all about the dirt/getting dirty anyway, right 😉

angela March 24, 2009 at 6:32 pm

‘maters are so hard to resist…especially after you get the smell of the vines on your hands…here’s hoping you grow some beauties this year!

Jenny March 24, 2009 at 7:23 pm

hey stefani–this year I went a little tomato crazy and ended up having to buy containers for the plants that wouldn’t fit in my garden! I thought I would have to spend a small fortune to buy enough large pots for them but as it turned out, Ikea in RR has huge terra cotta pots for $5.99! So I now have four tomato plants living very happily on my porch. And they are movable. Btw, I just read that Austin’s weather pattern is changing this year so we might actually have more rain!!!

Cassandra March 24, 2009 at 8:39 pm

“If at first you don’t succeed, try try again,” right? We had some rot on ours the first year we tried them. But all we get is sun in our yard. We’re trying hard for shade, but when you start with a bare sheep pasture, shade takes a little time to grow.

Myrnie March 24, 2009 at 9:01 pm

Heehee…I’ve been growing tomatoes for 5 years now, in three different cities, and have yet to harvest a single fruit.

Yes, hope springs eternal…in the spring 🙂 We’ll have fun canning jam anyway!

Annie March 25, 2009 at 11:39 am

I’ve been thinking of just planting an entire yard of flowers this spring… We get a great CSA box already and I’ve had a hard time with all my veggies getting eaten by bugs that are much more industrious than I am. I’m thinking of just dumping a bunch of bachelor button and cosmos seeds all over and watering occasionally.

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