Monday, January 30, 2012

On Tomatoes and Planning to do Nothing

You know.. I was thinking the other day. Every year, I have some volunteer tomato plants pop up here and there, and I rarely deter them from doing so. Every year I've been pleasantly surprised by the tasty results of said volunteers... and so this year...

I think I'm going to lay off the tomato planting.

At the end of 2011 I gave up on trying to keep up with the ripe tomatoes. I had planned poorly, staked wimpily and decided pretty much that the slugs could have the tomato plants. There were plenty of heirloom tomatoes out there, rotting on the ground. Thus, the tomato kingdom fell prey to various nasties (though I was incredibly surprised to only find two hornworms the entire season!)

This winter, I've been reading up on winter sowing as well as do-nothing farming, as conceived by Masanobu Fukuoka. I've posted about this before (though I can't find the post to link to it) and I'm thinking this year I'm going to put my faith in the seeds of last year's laziness. :) I was late planting my tomatoes last year and because of that and the terrible lack of fruit-setting heat, I got very few tomatoes before the slugs were strong enough to chase me out of the garden with their slimy sluginess. Ew. Because of all of this, I'm feeling a little pre-defeated... I don't want to deal with it again. Not like last year.

So. Theoretically if I let the tomatoes do their own thing this year I should get fruit similar to the open-pollinated and heirloom varieties I planted last year, right? On vines that sprout when they think it's best to sprout, grow straight from the ground and never know the restricting walls of a cellpack or a seeding tray... right?

If it doesn't work... well, I'll see that early enough that I can probably purchase some more mature plants and catch up more conventionally. I just can't help but feel my anxiety levels begin to creep up as soon as I open the seed catalogues to the entire chapter of tomato varieties that they offer. Hundreds of varieties, people. It's overwhelming. I don't want to plan tomato patches. I want to plan neat little rows of things like lettuce and beets... and long-term projects like the blackberry and gooseberry patches.

So that's my plan. I'll amend the soil a bit with some composted manure in the spring, and I'll till the pathways, weed and thin seedlings... but apart from that, Mr. Tomato, You are on your own for 2012.


1 comment:

  1. Haha! I like your approach. I also had many volunteer tomatoes pop up last year, even in spite of the piles of snow and low temperatures we got here too. They came up in the compost pile as well as in the ground. I'm sure you'll find as many as you need to keep you in tomatoes this year.

    I just winter-sowed some tomato seeds, as well as a whole slew of other things. It's my first time winter-sowing, but I know enough people who have done it and report amazing results - seedlings that are much stronger and more robust than any they started indoors with heat mats and fancy lights! And they're already acclimated to colder temps and being outside! I figure if they come up on their own, then this should work too. It's my lazy approach to starting from seed this year, although I'm hoping to try a few things indoors as well if I can afford some DIY set up.

    I'll be curious to see what you get this summer!