Years ago a friend and I used to joke about how we were mothered.
Both raised in the 50’s and 60’s
We marveled at the different styles of mothering we experienced.
We dubbed her mother’s style as “over mothering”
And mine as “under mothering”
Looking back all these years later
I realize that we were both young & wrong.
Her mother had 4 children
It’s not humanly possible to “over mother” with 4 children.
My mother had 3 children, my grandfather living with us
And no running water!
Who am I to judge.
But the truth is we all wonder if we are doing this right.
We even have those moments when our children are grown.
Which brings me to this year’s tomato plants.
The last 2 summers have produced maybe a dozen tomatoes in the entire state.
Just not good tomato growing weather.
But this year is different
People are raving about their tomato crops
And rightly so.
My uncle George has such a bumper crop
He’s even more popular at the retirement village he lives in.
And a healthy 88-year-old man was pretty popular to begin with!
Then there’s my house!
Let me give you a little history.
I was determined to have a good tomato year.
So I started my plants early – like January.
As they grew I kept potting them in bigger pots
So that I would have big healthy plants to put in the ground.
And I did.
I even located extra tall – 8″ tall – peat pots to achieve this goal.
Then when mid-March was acting like mid-April
And everyone else was digging their plants into the ground.
I chose to protect mine from what I was certain would be a late frost.
Which means I “over mothered” them at that stage.
I kept in that mode when I finally did plant them
Making sure that they had crushed egg shells
In the bottom of each appropriately deep hole
For all those deep roots.
I even used a new – to me – organic fertilizer as I planted.
Then I left them alone – “under mothering”
They grew and grew
And began to bloom – lots of blooms.
It’s getting really exciting at this point.
Then the blooms began to turn brown
And fall off.
Every single bloom
On every single plant
Except for one
What is going on?
June was a perfect tomato month
All I have to show for it
Is about a dozen tomatoes on one plant.
And 4 large happy tomato-less plants.
I’ve tried everything.
Jerry Baker’s tomato tonic of epsom salts and baby shampoo.
My friend Virginia’s solution of a Tums (calcium) allowed to melt into the roots.
So far I can’t see any change.
If anyone has other ideas.
Let me know.
So…are they suffering from “over mothering”
The truth is we all are probably guilty of both at some time.
It’s hard to know when to move forward
And when to pull back.
A minister once told me that
“All parenting is incomplete
We do the best we can
God will take care of the rest.”
Perhaps the same is true of growing tomatoes!