It has been about a month and a half since I last wrote about the Office Tomato and it’s about time for a good news/bad news update.
The good news is that I returned from a 10-day trip to Thailand to two ripe tomatoes and a third that is very nearly there. I feel lucky to have made it this far and was equally impressed that our friend and house-sitter, David, was able to keep the plant alive, especially since the weather has been unseasonably cold and grey.
The bad news is that the reign of Office Tomato is coming to an end.
I had hoped that the plant would be able to hold on long enough to make it outdoors, but with another months or so to go before tomato planting time, it is clear that a quiet retirement soaking up the sun in the fresh air is not going to be a reality for Office Tomato. The hard work of producing fruit indoors in an inadequate lighting situation is taxing all of the plant’s resources — it is literally on its last legs.
But first, let me backtrack:
I took this photo on March 26, just before heading off to Milwaukee. Already I could see that Office Tomato’s days were numbered and that its health was on a downward slope. I observed that the leaves had begun to curl under and had lost their luster. They just weren’t as green as they should have been.
Today was a big day. We flew to Chiang Mai, Thailand from Bangkok and were finally able to see the mega-sized water lilies, Victoria amazonica. These are the nearly mythical water lilies that were often depicted in old illustrations carrying the weight of a small child.
I have long been fascinated by their massive, prickly pads and had them on my list of absolute must-see plants while in Thailand. I was even lucky enough to see one with a flower bud.
We’re in Thailand! We’ve been here one full day and so far it is everything I imagined it would be. There’s constant visual stimulation and the plants are incredible.
I had hoped to do a proper post with pictures by now, but this whole jet lag thing is real and it is kicking my butt really hard. Instead, I’ve been adding pictures to my Flickr account as I go, along with a few Twitter updates as wifi becomes available.
My spouse Davin is only shooting film on this trip so I don’t imagine he will be adding any images to his Flickr account, but you can follow along with his side of the adventure via Twitter and cellphone pics.
Our friend and fellow plant enthusiast Derek is also on this trip. You can check out his view of the trip from his Flickr account. It’s especially nice to be touring around with other plant geeks — our mutual excitement is contagious, although incredibly dorky.
I am currently on a long flight to Thailand. Either that or I am currently in Thailand and passed out from a bad case of jet lag. I haven’t worked out the math. Before leaving for the trip, I assessed my seedling situation and decided that plants that were busting out of their seed starting pots would need to be repotted into larger containers if they were going to have a shot at thriving during my time away.
It’s surprising how much plants can grow in two weeks time!
I also decided to do this in consideration of our house sitter who is significantly over-loaded with plants to care for while we are away as well as a fussy, prima donna cat that will probably hiss and swipe at him at least once before our return. Plants that have overgrown their containers tend to dry out quickly and he’s got enough on his plate between my ever-expanding collection of houseplants and the myriad of seedlings I’ve got on the go in anticipation of gardening season.
When you brush their leaves, sesame plants smell like toasty, uber-fresh sesame seeds. They really do!
I would not have known that were I not attempting to grow my own sesame seed crop this year. My experiment may never result in a real crop, but it is already gleaning all sorts of fascinating new discoveries. I think that counts as a success. Everything from here on out is a bonus.
What did you learn in the garden today?