Monday, May 18, 2009
Gardening and teaching. I could make a Venn diagram comparing and contrasting the two. I had a random thought today that teaching and gardening are similar in that we choose and match the techniques that work for our students or for our soil and plant choices. Last year I did a little research on growing tomatoes. I found loads and loads of ideas, many of which were ridiculously difficult. Typical of my style, I chose the pieces that I could easily incorporate into my own routine within the time limits of my own schedule and the budget limits of my own wallet.
Last year I worked with the soil by adding shredded newspaper under each plant to increase drainage. That meant I had to make sure the plants stayed watered well, but it helped prevent swamping when we had a lot of rain. I'll do it again.
I also added eggshells. All the other fertilizers seemed to cost $$ or be difficult to find. My soil already includes home made compost, and the tomato plants move to a different part of the plot each year. I didn't feel like I needed Miracle Grow or any other such commercial fertilizer.
Was it the weather? The newspapers? The eggshells? Could have been all or a combination of the three, but my plants outgrew the wire tomato cages so much they collapsed.
I'm going to follow the same plan this season with one exception. I have a different set of trellisses, and I'll gently tie up the plant stems with old tee-shirt rags. Last year's plants grew to 5 feet tall, and with support they may do even better.
I always have plenty of shredded papers, and I can feed newspaper through the shredder if I need more.
Eggshells? I've been collecting since before Easter. Aren't they pretty?