Wednesday, April 19, 2006

One is the Loneliest Number

A week or so ago, David asked me, "Camille, which tomato is the saddest?" and I guessed wrong. It wasn't the tomato with the yellowed leaves or smallest leaves, it was the tomato with only one leaf. Poor Richard. He seems to have been afflicted with some debilitating tomato illness that has removed all folliage aside from one stout leaf. Strangely, this one leaf is enormous, and appears to be in perfect health.

In an attempt to right all wrongs in the world, we have repotted Richard in a claypot-home of his very own, and set him dead, smack in the middle of our strongest flourescent growlight. He has been fortified, watered, and verbally encouraged. We have not revealed that there are seventy-nine tomato plants just like him (only far larger and in significantly better health), or that he's only a tomato plant, and really, what does it matter if he dies anyhow? or that "Richard" is a terrible name in the first place.

Our hopes are low.

Scientifically speaking, there really is no way he will a) develop any more leaves or b) develop fruit because he has no joints. There's no place for him to start growing another branch. With (ahem) normal tomato plants, the new branches the start growing between an original branch and the main stem are called "suckers." When we want to inhibit "sprawling" branches and force the plants to bear fruit, we snap off these sucker. Because poor Richard has only one leaf growing from one stem, there's nowhere for him to grow new branches. The only future we see for him is to grow taller and sturdier -- but he will remain impotent with one leaf.


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