Wednesday, September 21, 2016
Last year, I planted my tomatoes along the fence. They grew, but didn't get many blossoms or produce much fruit. I got a few tomatoes - probably paid about $5 each for them, but really enjoyed them.
This year, I thought I'd try something new. I have a butterfly garden in the middle of the yard; the part that gets the most sun. I decided to plant the tomato plants along the edges of that garden, I figured they'd get more light, and I'd get more fruit.
So, I went to my local garden center, picked some promising varieties, and planted them at the proper time in the spring. The plants loved their new home, and sprouted tall and healthy.
Unfortunately for the tomatoes, the weeds that comprise the butterfly garden also flourished. Within a month they were competing with the tomatoes for light. A month later, you can barely find the tomatoes within the lush growth of the flowers.
I got a couple of tomatoes earlier this summer, before the light got choked off. I noticed last week that there's one more green one bravely growing in the midst of the other flowers. Yup, about $5 a tomato - back to the fence line with the plants for next year.
I can't call the experiment a total loss. I learned something. That counts, no?
On another note, I love the butterfly garden. It's wild and exuberant, free and abundant. Crowded, five feet tall, it's been a magnet for several varieties of bees. You'll find the little darty ones and big, fuzzy bumblebees, there most any time the sun is out. The butterflies like it, too. I've seen a half-dozen varieties of the beautiful insects feasting on the nectar of the brilliant orange and yellow flowers that dominate the bed. And yes, I've seen some Monarchs - I cheer them on especially hard - the world will be a bleaker place if they die out.
The garden has been my spot of joy this summer. I am tired from all the traveling - there's nothing better at the end of a long day or week then to sit on the porch swing, stop, breathe, and absorb a touch of nature from the exorbitant display.