I was just out tending to my tomato plants. After my pathetic pea harvest, I am looking to my beautiful tomatoes to solace me, to provide me with more food than I can possbily eat. Which is why I spent twenty minutes picking off flowers.
It is so hard, you look at each flower and imagine the fruit that could grow from it. But no, some of them have to come off or the fruit will be crowded, you end up with tons of stunted tomatoes instead of a reasonable number that grow to their full potential.
I am still learning, though, and as I removed flowers tonight I realized I had not been as strict about removing side branches as I should have been....getting sunlight in to the centre of my tomatoes seems questionable at best, at this point. Good thing I have made up my mind that this year is purely a Learning Year, I am free to screw up as much as I can, I am free to make major mistakes. Next year I will have a frame of reference, I will have my gardening journal to help me. I will make major mistakes next year, to be sure, but I won't make the ones I made this year. Eventually, according to my plan, I will have made every possible mistake there is to make, and then I will be ready to do this for real.
But still? Gardening makes you hope. I look at the bright green fruit hanging from my plants, and instead I see dark red heavy globes. I look at my bean plants, which are putting out dark green, worm sized beans, and I imagine them heavy in my hand. I let my fingers play over the foliage of my garlic, and imagine them growing stronger, larger, and more pungent below the soil.
I accept freely that every single thing I planted may still be a disaster, that my entire harvest for 2009 could actually be those two cups of shelled peas in the freezer. Don't care. It makes me hope.