Ja’ime: Private School Tomato

by Heidi Obermeyer

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Have you ever watched the HBO show Ja’mie, Private School Girl? If not, you should. And if so, just think of our favorite cross-dressing Australian comedian while I talk about a certain tomato up there in a few minutes.

If you know me in real life- which, I am learning, a few of you actually don’t, which is kind of cool- you are so f***ing sick of hearing about my garden. It has been the only thing I have to talk about for the last few weeks, and what makes it even more boring than usual is that it is the beginning of the season, so there is just about NOTHING in it. I have literally led my  roommates outside and shown them piles of dirt in the last few weeks… multiple times.

Let me repeat that.

I have come into the house, very excited, and made them come outside, and shown them literally pots of dirt.

I don’t know why they still live with me, but I sure am glad they do.

Anyway, things in veggie town are going okay so far. My tomatoes- the same one that I agonized over for a month after planting them from seeds- have been put in the ground, possibly probably too early.  I figured, hey, I already accidentally forgot about you outside overnight when it got pretty cold, why not just go whole hog on this sucker and plant away? After that, into the ground they went, mostly because I was feeling optimistic but also because I was tired of schlepping a plastic tray of tomatoes up and down the stairs every day to try and get them maximum sunlight on our deck while I am at work.

This whole experience has felt a lot like having a child for me as someone who has never had a child. I think about these plants while I am at the office. I worry about what will happen to them when/if they literally grow up. And I strategize how to best give them the advantages in this crazy world of concrete and city life.

My plants are going to grow up to be like all of the characters on Gossip Girl. They’re hip urban plants! Or at least, the ones in individual pots are. Cue the entrance of my favorite tomato plant, aka the only one I potted individually. All of the other sprouts of that variety of tomato got eaten by a mysterious creature (probably a rat, but that’s a story for another time) so this one is my last chance at success. My only hope. The Obi-Wan Kenobi of my garden, as it were. Basically that tomato plant is going to a specialized private school pot where it is safe from all of the weird stuff that’s happening to my plants in the real garden, including some bug that is eating holes in the leaves of all the other tomatoes! We’re fighting the good fight with some insect soap spray, but the situation has, at times, been pretty dire. Maybe this final survivor will flourish with smaller class sizes and more individualized attention.

Here’s hoping all my other plants survive the big wide world and turn out great, despite my helicopter parenting. And from here on out, I’m definitely calling that tomato Ja’mie. Just maybe not in front of my roommates.

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