A watched tomato

Published 5:39 pm Tuesday, May 16, 2017

It has been said, “A watched pot never boils.” We know what that means. In our impatience for the water in the pot to “hurry up” and boil, as we hover over the pot, it takes longer. Although it’s not true, it sounds logical. With that philosophy in mind, I wonder if a watched tomato will ever ripen to the point where it can be sacrificed upon the altar of two slices of mayonnaised-up, white bread?

A few weeks back, Donna Sue brought me home a couple of tomato plants. She had a large, blue planter and I filled the planter with Miracle-Gro Moisture Control potting soil and put both plants in the planter, spaced about six inches apart.

At first I thought they were simply going to bloom and never develop into a tomato. But since my initial Doubting Thomas stage, they have done remarkably well and many, many tomatoes have begun to grow.

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There is one, however, the first one to appear, that receives most of my attention. Naturally, it’s currently the largest of all and I have developed the habit of looking at it at least three times a day. I don’t know what I am expecting; maybe that it will suddenly and miraculously enlarge and ripen all in the period of two hours.

After all, I planted it in Miracle-Gro Moisture Control potting soil. At the same time, I remember the question from the beginning of this column. Will a watched tomato ripen? Well, not in one day. That’s for sure!

Still there is the expectation.

So far, the squirrels and birds haven’t bothered the plants or fruit, but I may have to take some precautions. We have four bird feeders in the backyard near the plants and you’d think the birds would be satisfied with the expensive food we buy them, but in addition to eating us out of house and home, I read that they may enjoy a fresh tomato.

And the squirrels. I don’t “think” they will bother the tomato. I “know” they will. Putting the plants under lock and key won’t do it. I could put up a sign that read, “Don’t eat the tomatoes; leave them for me,” but I might as well roll out the red carpet for the squirrels if I did that.

I may have to put up a chicken-wire, do-hickey around the planter. It may not be aesthetically pleasing to the eyes, but what’s more important: a pleasant view or a tomato sandwich? That’s a no-brainer.

Watching them grow has been very enjoyable. I don’t take a lot of credit because I haven’t done all that much. I have seen that they have gotten plenty of water. I know that tomato plants need a lot of water and sunshine. God has supplied the sunshine and a little water, but I’ve helped Him some with my garden hose.

I thought I had solved the watering problem by buying “Moisture Control” potting soil. Moisture control, it seems, would be defined by controlling the moisture.


Wrong, but you knew that.

I looked it up and it takes about 75 days to get all the way to a tomato sandwich. Although I don’t remember, exactly, when I planted my tomatoes, I probably have another month and a half. Let’s see. If I look at them three times a day for 45 days, I have almost another 150 views of my first little baby tomato. Now the only question is: Am I delaying the ripening of my tomato by looking at it so often. Does a watched tomato ripen?