Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Green Tomatoes and a Fishy Funeral

I have eight or nine tomato plants in my larger garden and three in my container garden (see top left photo for one of these; the rest are from the other garden). The plants in the big garden get quite a bit more sun , probably have better soil quality, and the soil (as is the nature of a garden plot vs. containers) stays a more even temperature and doesn't dry out as quickly. Also, the plants in the pots are a compact container-suitable variety which just doesn't tend to be a large producer. As a result of all of these factors, tomatoes are busting out all over in the larger garden, while it looks as if it will be rather slim pickings from the pots.

I liked this view of one of my zinnias peeping out between encroaching tomato leaves.

The zinnia patch was the site today of a solemn little ceremony. My eight-year-old son discovered to his sorrow this morning that one of his two goldfish had expired and was draped limply over the ornamental hollow log at the bottom of the aquarium. Since we are moving back into the house with the larger garden in just a few weeks, we thought that would be a more suitable burial site, and we hoped that a spot under the flowers would both mark the site nicely for the next few months and perhaps lend some elegance to the end of this small fishy life. Freddi Fish (named for a kids' computer game character) was about four years old -- a large and beautiful goldfish with a lovely wafting tail. We dug a hole in the soft soil, said a few suitable words of appreciation and respect and never-forgetting, and covered her over. I told Henry about how (at least as I've heard it; I don't really know) the Indians would bury a fish head under their corn for fertilizer, and that Freddi's body would enrich the soil of our garden.

Then we went straight to Aquatic Pets to acquire a new little friend for Freddi's bereft younger tankmate, Harry James Potter. Henry picked out a handsome little black goldfish -- I had no idea they came in black -- and soon settled on the most suitable name of Sirius Black. He informed me firmly that he was still sad, but he was at least outwardly decidedly more chipper as we installed Sirius in the tank and welcomed him, or possibly her, to our family.

Update, posted 7/25: Sadly, Sirius Black did not thrive with us and was found floating in the tank about 24 hours after his arrival. Perhaps H.J. Potter will need to be an only fish for a while.

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Jim H. said...

Will you be able to move the current garden to the new house?

Which leads me to a transplantation question: I planted the pepper plants way too close to the tomato plants -- the pepper plants are stunted, I think, because of the crowding and the shade.

Can I move them or is it too late?


Mary Schier said...

Jim: I had the same problem...way over planted one of my beds. I did move a zucchini plant about two weeks ago, and it is not dead yet. It may still die, but it hasn't, so it doesn't hurt to try since you may not get much off the peppers if they are in the tomato's shadow.

Penelope said...

I'd echo what Mary said. Just remember that there is close to as much root system below ground as there is foliage above, so try to dig a nice big rootball if you're going to move it, and make sure the soil is moist for easiest settling-in in the new location. Good luck with that; let us know how it does.

My bigger garden is at the house I'll be moving back to, so that one doesn't need to move, just the container garden. So that's okay!

Jim H. said...

Both of y'all: