Keeping an Eye on the Plants

I have been temporary custodian to a greenhouse full of tomato and cucumber plants (and without much if an internet connection). I’m not really a natural gardener but it turns out that despite myself I have picked up a few things along the way, and know approximately what to do.

I’ve always previously thought, though, that it was all a bit boring – the watering with just the right mixture of fertilisers, the pinching out of sucker shoots on the tomatoes and the male flowers on the cucumbers, the cutting back of the big leaves to allow the sun to penetrate to the produce on the lower reaches of the plant.

But I have grown increasingly fascinated by watching the progress of the various fruits as they grow.  Is this one ready to pick today, or should I wait a couple more days for it to flesh out a little more?  If I cut this one, might it encourage the plant to put more effort into the other little buds.  Will slow patience be rewarded or should I excise  now for a better return in the coming weeks?  I’ve heard myself announcing that we might anticipate a crop of two or three tomorrow, but still have been surprised to discover a hitherto unnoticed cucumber hidden in a corner ready to be picked, and been unaccountably pleased.

It’s all a grand metaphor for something I’m sure, but meanwhile, should I buzz or not while I’m going round with the fine paintbrush pollinating the tomato flowers in place of the bees that rarely venture into the greenhouse?

Leave a comment


  1. Definitely buzz, though reading the comment above I feel like sending you a recording from my garden, which has been humming all week with all my bee friendly flowers!

    • Thanks Gabriela. A member of my family did once fool someone into believing that the manual pollination of the tomatoes would only work if you did ‘buzz’ like a bee while you were doing it, so it’s become a bit of a running joke for us!

  1. Compulsory Cucumber | Reading and Writing

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