Tomato Update – Week 10

This hasn’t been a great growing season for me so far and these last few weeks have been even worse.

Just as a refresher, I found a tomato on the train tracks at Capua station in Italy this February and smuggled the seeds back to Brooklyn. Even though the seeds sprouted quickly, they didn’t live too long thereafter. Only five of the seedlings made it to week 6.

Now for the update. I only have room for four plants, so I gave a plant to one of my favorite pizza makers at Lombardi’s. The next day, I decided it was time to put the remaining seedlings in the ground. I had prepared a makeshift bookshelf planting bed and carefully mixed the soil with fresh compost before covering it with a black plastic sheet (to keep out weeds and retain heat/moisture). The plants were still really small and I’m pretty nervous about backyard creatures so I installed a short chicken-wire fence around my planting bed just to be safe. 

The next day, I awoke to a massacre. In hindsight, I probably should have taken a photograph of the destruction but it’s probably for the best that I didn’t. Too many emotions. The entire bed was torn up and my delicate smuggled Italian tomato plants were uprooted from their new homes. Who could have done such a thing??? Footprints in the dirt revealed the horrible truth: my upstairs neighbor’s adorable dog Finn had tomato blood on his paws.

I found all four victims and replanted them immediately, but only 1 survived the shock of “The Massacre.” He stands proud, living in spite of his traumatic past. We’ve been getting steady sunlight and rain, so the environment has been pretty good. Finn is no longer allowed out back by himself, but we rekindled out friendship and all is forgiven.

As you can see from the photo below, the tomato bed is pretty roomy. One of my neighbors gave me a tomato plant to express his condolences, so I planted it in the plot on the left. It may not completely fill the void left by the departure of my beloved smuggled tomato plants, but it does serve to honor them.

We have lots of other stuff growing this year, so I installed a water bucket to collect rain to help me water all those suckas. It’s pretty sweet, I grabbed an empty olive barrel from Coluccio & Sons in Brooklyn (one of my favorite sources for cheese, tomatoes, oil, etc) and covered the top with cheap mesh screen. I still want to add some funnels to trap more rain, but the project will be ongoing as the season continues.


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