Over Mothering or Under Mothering???



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

George's Tomatoes

George’s Tomatoes

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.

Never happened.

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”

Or…”under 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!


At least the Daisies are happy!

At least the Daisies are happy!


Filed under Garden Planning, Gardening, Motherhoos, Timing, Tomato, Uncategorized

2 responses to “Over Mothering or Under Mothering???

  1. Marcella Rousseau

    Most of the country is having oppressively hot weather so I’m guessing that you are too. Tomatoes don’t like the 90’s! We are having drought conditions here in Indiana. Are your tomatoes getting enough water?

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