Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Talking to Tomatoes

As you can see by my sidebar I'm a fan of Johnny Seeds. I'm on their email list and received this from them today.

Dear Johnny's Catalog Store Customers,

My vegetable garden is in except for the tomatoes and a few other stragglers. The tomatoes are always the last to go in perhaps because of their status as the crown jewel of the garden. Every year I pore over gardening articles with tips on how to grow the best tomatoes. Everyone seems to have an opinion on how to get the best tasting tomato. It starts with choosing a variety to grow: heirloom vs. hybrid, determinate vs. indeterminate. I opt for a mix. At planting time the debate shifts to mulch: red vs. black plastic, or a cover crop of crimson clover or cut Sudan grass, or, heaven forbid, just plopping the transplant right into the soil. I have done them all. Next come the pruning theories: one leader or two or just forget pruning all together. I usually go with one leader. Recently, various methods of trellising have drawn attention. There are tomato cages, staking, the Florida weave, the Dutch spiral, the Caribbean quadrapod, the English long row, and on and on. Ugh, it is enough to send a gardener packing her spade and hoe and heading to the produce aisle or better yet the farmers' market.

It was in this context that I recently read of yet another study on growing the best tasting tomatoes. The British Horticultural Society is conducting a study at Wisley in Surrey to see if tomatoes respond to voices. Auditions were recently held and a cadre of people with different voices was selected to read verses by Shakespeare and John Wyndham. Recordings of the readings are being played to the roots of the plants while a control group of tomatoes grows in silence. The study follows claims by the Prince of Wales that he talks to his tomatoes and thinks it helps them grow. While the study is fun, a BHS spokesman says it is definitely a serious study.

The results of the test have yet to be released. However, past tests have shown that plants respond to grower's stress; i.e. if you think your plant won't make it, it probably won't. Bottom line here is don't worry about whether you should talk to your plants or not, just enjoy them. When you are taking a break from the garden, don't forget to check out the June edition of
"What's Growing on?".

Happy gardening,
Joann Matuzas
Johnny's Selected Seeds Catalog
Store 955 Benton Ave.
Winslow, ME 049011

I must say that this email had me in stitches. Now I've been known to talk to my houseplants. Yes, I often talk to my orchids and African violets thanking them for their wonderful blooms and encouraging them to bloom. There are some benefits of Andy being deaf - one being that he can't hear my wacky conversations with the plants. Anyway, I do think that if nothing else good energy is contagious and talking to houseplants promotes good energy, which might promote growth. But, I don't know if I'd go so far as talking to my tomatoes. It would just be another reason for my neighbors to think I've completely lost it!

What do you think? Do you talk to your garden or house plants? Share your thoughts.


Rosehaven Cottage said...

I do have to admit that when I transplant a store-bought plant, tree or shrub I often tell it that it's in its new home now and it will be happy. Sometimes I tell the plants that when I'm loading them in the truck for the drive home from the store. It just seems appropriate, somehow.


June said...

I used to think that I was just muttering to myself out there. But now I can spin it as yet another gardening technique!

Great having you over to my place, Jackie. Yours is just delightful! Let me know how you like the recipes...I've got some more in the works.

lynn'sgarden said...

That's my secret...I whisper sweet somethings all day! Really, I do say "thank-you" for all the joy they bring. Funny post, Jackie!

keewee said...

I talk to my plants, I think they need all the encouragement they can get.

Outside In said...

I can't say that I'd ever talk to the
plants, but I don't see the harm in it accept for your neighbor thinking that you've lost it, ha ha.

gardenerprogress/Catherine said...

How funny, even doing auditions for it! Mostly I just get excited when I see a bloom and say "Yeah!". I already know my neighbors think I'm nuts about my garden, so hearing me cheer on a plant wouldn't change much.

CiNdEe said...

I always talk to my plants and all the critters that visit my garden.(-:

Beegirl said...

Someone recently asked me if i talked to the bees. I thought about it, and we do. We talk to the bees and the chickens, but not really to the garden. Guess I better get chatting!

Prospero said...

My neighbors already think I've lost it - so I might as well talk (and sing) to my tomatoes. I like your little dog!

Heather said...

I am on my way to sing and talk to mine now! I want a stellar harvest this year!