Staking tomatoes

I don’t really watch football. Or listen to it described on the radio. I’m never able to sit still long enough to absorb anything that takes 90 minutes. But I have enjoyed some lovely football-related phrases and expressions.

The one that springs to mind today is where the new football manager arrives and things go really well for a few months. But the draconian changes and impositions on the well-established team start to rankle.

And rankle, and irk. Mutterings, leaks to the media about an unhappy camp. And then after a straight run of seven losing matches on the trot, that’s it.

And everyone comes out with the same phrase: ‘the manager has lost the dressing room.’

I love that. And when I gaze down at my newly emerging jungle of tomatoes in the special bed I made for them – complete with strings with which to twine, the phrase returns. I think I have lost the dressing room on this one.

The tomatoes just won’t behave. How can they go from titchy and controlled, to me feeding them with comfrey feed every Friday (feeding Friday) to this?

I pinch out the side shoots. Honest. I inspect every few days. But all it takes is for you to forget for two days straight and you have chaos.

And by the time you realise what should have been pinched out, the shoot is forming a flower and you certainly aren’t going to pinch out that. Not after all the work you put into getting them here.

Suddenly you have to add supplementary twine for the branching tomato which won’t fit onto the one support.

The string I first used for this bed wasn’t strong enough. They unravelled from their anchors under the plants. I replaced with sturdier stuff. But where do you anchor them once the plant is up and growing? Peg them into the ground? Secure them with rocks? Tie them onto the base of the plant and hope you don’t strangle the whole thing?

I did the latter.

No one tells you this stuff. It’s always elegance and straight plants racing up the twine. I don’t even have an instagram account, but I know those photos are out there. Why else did I do it this way? And not the traditional fat chestnut stake hammered into the ground at planting time.

Still, at least they are thriving. And they didn’t blow over in that storm which battered this garden for a day and a half.

So the structure holds, the plants are happy. And they look like my hair before I lopped it all off last week. Going every which way but mainly out.

Out of control.

But the first fruits are forming. And that is quite an achievement for not even being July. I put that down to the liquid comfrey feed I’m giving them in a watering can once a week. The price of course for this exuberance is a very stinky collection of buckets. Up at the top potager, and also inconveniently placed by behind the potting shed. Reeks!

I keep thinking the cat has dragged in a rodent and left half of it uneaten under a bench somewhere….