EARTH EDUCATION: I bet Peter Pan didn't grow tomatoes

McClatchy InteractiveJuly 7, 2008 

We had three thunderstorms over the weekend. The one on Friday uprooted trees all over town, including one at the entrance to my neighborhood that took out an entire utility pole, along with our electricity. Given the circumstances, I should be grateful that my plants just blew over, instead of being scattered across the next county.

Perhaps it's the heat, but I've been confronted more and more with my powerful inner laziness. I do not like to do things I know I need to do. I like to do things that are not required. A garden doesn't usually let you work according to your schedule; if you see something that needs to be done, it needs to be done, period, even if it's hot or dark or rainy or all three at once. This causes me to rebel. I'm a procrastinator, and gardening doesn't allow a lot of procrastination. This means my neighbors often see me out in the heat or the dusk, peevishly re-staking peppers or taping breaks in tomato vines.

My attitude is not very grown-up. I've known this about myself for a long time, but age doesn't seem to have made me any more mature in this respect. Right now, for instance, I need to finish my book club book by Sunday. I've had the book for weeks, and there's nothing the matter with it; it's entertaining and it takes place in a city I love. Yet I've barely made any progress. I am procrastinating about reading for pleasure. It is a sad state of affairs.

When it comes to the garden, therefore, it shouldn't surprise me that I put things off as long as possible. In the beginning I was fairly organized and motivated, but not surprisingly, I ran low on gas and I've been put-putting ever since. My lazy self wants everything to just grow up and be independent, and that's not how it works. My plants need me to protect them against bugs and weather and those ^*%$& squirrels. They keep getting bigger and bigger, which means they need more and more support. I didn't know the tomato plants would be pushing six feet tall by July, but they are, and no matter what I was anticipating, that's what I got. They might be unwieldy, but I can't cut them loose. Or down.

So after putting it off for several days, I finally got some more stakes and some animal repellent, and I slowly began the process of pulling the plants back upright and replacing their supports. It's not the most fun thing to do, since the tomatoes are tangled up with each other and I have to figure out which vines go where. But it's got to be done, so it's time for me to put on my big girl panties and just do it. Here's to maturity.

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