May 2012

Growing tomatoes

I should just give up.

For years I try to grow tomatoes from seed with varying degrees of success. In recent years, I have had more failures than successes.

But this was the year it was all going to turn around. I started my seeds in February, earlier than ever, so they would have plenty of time to grow nice thick stalks. I now have an interior south facing window upstairs in the new dormer, so the baby plants could be in a warmer room than the enclosed, though uninsulated, front porch. I didn’t put up the grow lights because I thought the sunlight would suffice.

It is now the middle of May and this is what I have.


It is pathetic. In addition, those stalks are so fragile that I lost 4 plants due to the stalks just breaking.

Compare these sorry specimens to today’s purchases at the Farmer’s Market, from three different vendors.


Now, a side by side comparison.


I don’t know why I bother trying to grow tomatoes from seed, but every year, without fail, I attempt it again. Others do it. Why can’t I? Hopefully I’ll have better luck next year.


Patience and Perseverance

Last week, I bought a skein of wonderful, soft, shiny, dyed tencel yarn. It was a spontaneous purchase. The local yarn shop owner offered to wind the skein into a ball using the shop ballwinder. I agreed.

That was the first mistake. Such slippery yarn should never be balled using a ball winder. While winding it, the ball fell off the ball winder. The shop owner started winding the rest by hand. But 630 yards is a lot of yarn to wind by hand. She suggested I come back another day.

On Tuesday I picked up the yarn. The center pull ball looked sloppy. I decided to rewind it when I got home. That was the second mistake. Since the original was not well wound and the yarn so slippery, the ball fell apart. I had a tangled mess on my hand.

I was ready to give up. I was ready to go back to the yarn store, put the half balled yarn and remaining tangled mess on the “free” table.

But then I remembered that I had just bought the yarn. It wasn’t cheap. I still loved the color and the shininess of it. I still wanted to make a shawl from it.

So I sat down and started to untangle. That was Tuesday.

Wednesday, I untangled some more.

Thursday, I untangled even more. I was beginning to see some progress.

This was how far I got on Friday morning.

Do you see the ball of yarn? All that yarn was part of the tangled mess. By Friday morning, I had only a small amount of yarn to untangle. By Friday afternoon, I had finished. I have half the skein still on the ball winder and half the skein in a tightly wound ball. In another couple of days I will wind it all off the ball winder.

This was a lesson in patience and perseverance. I’m glad I didn’t give up.