The Tomato Chronicles, part 4.
Horror stories are everywhere. The world full of dangers, especially if you can’t get away. Say, for example, that you’re a very young plant, with no way to perceive danger and no way to dodge anyhow.
As April drizzled on, New Jersey had occasional sunny, warm days – good weather for seedlings. I put the baby tomatoes outside whenever there was enough light and enough warmth. They kept on growing – I only lost two or three to “damping off”, a dread disease that causes seedlings to shrivel away to limp little threads.
But one afternoon, when I brought them back indoors, something was terribly wrong with several pots. Where there were strong, leafy plants in the morning, now there were only inch-long stems. Toothmarked stems.
I don’t know what was guilty. A squirrel? We have lots of those. A rabbit? I haven’t seen many this year, but there are always some. Maybe even a duck, wandering uphill from the lake? A predator, anyhow. Everything’s hungry. And normally I would side with the being who has a nervous system. But I meant to eat these plants, or at least their fruit.
Since then, the tomatoes have stayed in. When the weather’s warmish, I open the windows instead to let them experience unblocked sunlight and breezes. Am I overprotective? Maybe, but none of them have been chewed up lately. This horror story has a happy ending, so far.