Over on reddit I sometimes hitchhike on a friends post on dog related topics. One point that I have made over and over is that we tend to be perfect on social media at the expense of the ugliness of truth. It leads people to wonder what is wrong with them for not having perfect lives.
On Saturday, I dropped one of my trays of tomatoes. I woke up and decided to take them outside to enjoy the sunshine before I ate anything. On my 4th and final run, I missed a step and lost the tray. I caught it and we kind of slid down into a puddle but the plants look like someone punched them in the face. My Sungold snapped off at the base. It has not been a pretty scene and I was pisssssed.
It was just as the weather turned for the better. I decided to start planting them out because on the same day, I saw that my Rapunzel had produced its first flowers.
But my poor Sungold. I have two and now I have one and a quarter.
The fortunate part is that the Sungold snapped off at a point that left two branches. Each of these is growing a new growth head. Normally I’d pluck these off as suckers. This time, I’m holding onto them because they mean the recovery of this plant.
For a moment I debated going and getting one from the garden center. Instead, I decided to push my abilities and try to have my plant recover.
And it is. As sad and tattered as it looks, I’ve left it alone. Pruning causes stress and the plant has enough wounds to hell. But in the center against the stalk you see a new growth head. That will hopefully become a new plant.
I first stepped into the internet as a social experience when I was sixteen. Understand that was around 1995-1996. I’ve been online as a large part of my life for twenty years.
The early days of the internet was finding chat-rooms of people of similar age. We all tended to get along because we were all in the same, exotic escape. The people met there would, on average, be a better fit then the ones I met in real life. In many ways, those early days corrupted me and leave me shaking my head and puzzled at the changes twenty years has brought.
This morning, I was checking on messages from reddit. Reddit is such a fascinating forum. I like it well enough but I consider it an acquaintance, not a love. Days like this morning remind me of why.
Last night, in between finishing diner I tapped out some replies to gardeners even newer then I was. I knew the problem. Her pumpkins where not being pollinated. But,t I did one of the ultimate horrors on the internet. I used the wrong word. I used fertilization instead of pollination. Yes. Such a bout of horrific ignorance did grace my response, rendering it useless.
Perhaps, I go overboard in my annoyance. A message received this morning from someone else said, “It is pollination not fertilization.” A true comment. Yes. But necessary? No. Not even a bit. But it is not the first time that I have or will receive a message because of a typo or a word usage case. This is better then the day I was told not to call a dog a boy because gender is a society construct on a dog forum. Still, it makes me close my eyes and take a moment to find the self control to not answer and move on.
It leaves me wondering. Why? Not why they do it. There are dozens of reasons. Correcting someone feels good. It is more why the need. That stems from the incorrect assumption that other people feel like I do. The insecurities. Questioning themselves. Struggling with adulting while being fatigued by the same thing.
Maybe I just question that need. The need to correct people in casual settings. In a professional environment I understand the need for permissions. But I am reminded of that person in a chat room that corrects everyone’s spelling. Or they lecture them on usages and in general make themselves insufferable.
What am I missing in personality, I wonder?
There are times when the immature part of me giggles at terminology. Hardening off means to introduce the plant to the natural elements in a series of stages. A plant that germinates inside is used to a very controlled environment. The artificial lights, still air, and stable temperature makes the plant fragile. A plant does not waste energy on useless things and being tough is not useful unless it is necessary.
That is why these plants, at a tender age of 4 weeks, must go outside. But, I should not just throw them out. I did do that before and it worked. They didn’t grow for about two weeks while they struggled. After that two week point they had toughened up enough to start to grow.
The next year I started to harden them off. That means taking them outside for an hour or two the first day. The same the next. Gradually, over a week take them out more and more. By the end of the first week the damage will show. They will have sunburn. Branches may have snapped. Leaves are ripped from the movement. Stems are lopsided and growth has slowed or stopped. But, after that first week they start to pick up. The stem hardens and thickens. It loses the soft, pale green skin for a darker, more wood like consistency. The leaves enlarge and grow thick. The root system broadens to give the plan support.
Now, the plant is ready to go outside. I start hardening off on April. This means that the plants are ready to move outside by the time the frost dates are past. I will eventually leave them outside from morning to night, bringing them inside for the cool nights until the weather has reached a point that they can be moved out to their containers.