Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A Little Love Apple in Provence

Today I decided to try to fix up the sickly tomato plant that's been having some trouble in the garden.  I'm a little bit ashamed that I've let it go on so long like this, especially since I've been around tomato plants almost all of my life, I should know how to take better care of one, but I've been busy with other tasks around the Liquoristerie, and taking care of plants isn't my top priority.  I am the resident gardener though, so I feel like I should be trying to take care of the plants.  Unfortunately, I don't have quite the green thumb of my mother, but I do know a thing or two.

I guess I can take a little comfort in the fact that I told Jill and Pascal within the first week that it shouldn't been in that little pot, but I could have taken initiative sooner nonetheless, so excuses don't really count for much.  They never really do anyway.

I did get some tips from my mom that I scribbled down in my notebook, so I had a nice list of steps to take, although it's not nearly as extensive as I'm sure she would have liked, but then again I have limited gardening resources over here, so we had to make do.

The first step was to dig a new hole for the little one, so I dug it out and set it in the shade to rest up before giving it a bigger home with a freshly stocked fridge.
My tools were not the greatest, and the soil is hard packed and pretty full of clay, so it was tough going.  The dimensions of the hole are supposed to be around 2' deep and 1' in diameter, but I'm pretty sure I didn't dig that far.  It ended up working out though, because the plant was probably shorter than my mom expected anyways.

Next I added the compost.  Jill's been tossing all of her kitchen scraps into makeshift pallet-built compost pile, so I dug out a couple of scoops of those and threw them into the bottom of the hole.

After watering it in, which made a pretty gross-looking soup, I threw some eggshells and salmon skin on the top.  My mom recommended any sort of fish meal for some good plant food, so I told Jill to save any fish guts she might have for the project.
After getting all of my amendments in, I broke up the bottom of its previous soil in order to make sure that the roots weren't bound, then placed it into my hole quite deep.  My mom always insists on this, because the little hairs on the plant's stem will turn into roots when covered in soil, so it's important to plant it as deep as possible.
I filled in the dirt and made a little mound in a circle around the base of the plant in order to give it a little bit of room for water to collect.
My moat retained quite a bit of water, but I think since the soil is so ridden with clay that it took awhile to drain.  After feeling how hard it was trying to dig the hole, and seeing how quickly the water filled up in my moat, I decided to fill up my watering pail before shutting off the valve.  There's a leak in the faucet for a couple of businesses on my street, so every time I want to water in the mornings I have to walk to the neighbor's place and unscrew the valve, giving the pipes outside pressure.
After washing my hands off with the hose, I discovered that I gave myself a blister that subsequently broke open.  Such a newbie move.  I definitely should have remembered to wear gloves.
If you're trying to get gardening tips from this blog post, I definitely would not rely on it.  You should go check out my mom's blog.  It's called Grow Better Veggies and there's a link to it in the sidebar.

I'll post again soon, I'm sorry that it's been so long since the last one.  I've been really busy.  There are those excuses again though, I've got to remember that they don't really mean all that much.


  1. Oy, that soil looks awful! I wish I could get in there for a couple of months and completely re-do Pascal's garden. It's a beautiful little spot. You did well, kiddo, I'm proud of you!

  2. Looks like the love apple doesn't fall too far from the bush!

  3. Its good to see your having fun, while simultaneously steering clear of the riots. I defiantly always wear gloves when I dig, and for good reasons.