For the past couple of years, we've done some minor experimenting with back-yard gardening. And, when I say 'we,' I mean my gift-from-God, happily-ever-after trophy wife Vanessa, the elegant, foxy, praying black grandmother of Woodstock, GA. My involvement has been limited to buying the wire cones at Home Depot.
The first two years, she just used these big honken planters on the back porch. I think she had two plants, and they kept us in an appropriate amount of home-grown tomatoes, and it was nice.
Then she got a bit ambitious, and dug out a garden area by the fence, with borders and tags. Didn't work. I know she had some other stuff in there beside the tomatoes, but I don't think anything bore fruit.
Here are two mistakes she didn't make, both of which I have seen happen.
Mistake 1: Failing to understand the process. A dear friend of mine wanted tomatoes one year. So...he planted tomato seeds. Fortunately, this act was reported by his wife to a person who Knows Things, and they brought out a flat of tomato seedlings, and stuck them in the ground the next day while my friend was at work. Of course, this meant that my friend was temporarily struck dumb by the vision of seedlings rising several inches from the ground, whereas mere seeds had been planted only hours earlier. He wondered, briefly, if it might be a miracle. Actually, kindness often IS a miracle, so in that sense, he was correct.
Mistake 2. Failing to understand the productivity of a tomato plant. On Monday morning, Barry's buddy came into work, reporting he had spent the weekend setting out tomatoes. Anticipating gifts in the future, Barry asked him how many he set out. The answer: 100. Well, at least he got some good exercise out of it. Which probably included the next day going out and ripping out about 95 tomato plants.
This year, though, we will get no tomatoes, unless we buy them. The narwhals got ours. They use that beak to sense unattended tomato plants, and then they followed the trail all the way from the Arctic down to Savannah, where they hit the rivers and creeks. Unfortunately, we live only a mile away from Little River, so it was no great task for them to bore through the ground until they popped up next to our tomatoes.
I would not have grudged them a FEW tomatoes, but they prefer to slice them on the vine. That beak really is a multi-purpose device. Shredded the tomatoes, the plants, and even trimmed some of the surrounding grass.
I live not VERY far from the Center for Disease Control, so I called them and asked if this was common. They said it was because there is a certain amount of mole DNA in narwhals. It's because the common mosquito feasts on them both, and some exchange is inevitable. When conditions are right, the mole DNA can express itself in behavior of this type.
Nothing to worry about, really. They did caution me against harming the narwhals, because they might be endangered. That's okay, because I don't have any recipes for narwhal. If I want to keep them away, I have to hammer a stick in the ground, then drag a bit of corrugated tin (plastic will also work) over the top of the stick, which sets up vibrations in the ground, and warns them off. I decided not to do that this year.
Peace be on your household.