Dorm Room Garden, Part Deux

Well, college is as stressful for me as it’s ever been, but I’m stillMatt and his tomato finding time to keep ahead of my garden. Several days ago, I had my first of (hopefully) many tomatoes, and just yesterday I had my first three green beans – everything has been delicious!

I’ve learned some things, though, too. For instance, a) that tomatoes need pruned, and b) that there is such a thing as loving a cucumber plant to death. For the tomato pruning, it turns out that anything that is dead or dying should be removed. One of my friends advised me to simply lop off a particularly tall shoot. However, it is better to instead cut off any leaves that are near the bottom, and don’t have a chance of getting to the light. By removing these and also the dead leaves, the energy distribution of the tomato plant is more efficient – less energy is wasted on leaves that are dying.

As for my poor cucumbers, I was watering every day to ensure that they would get everything they needed. Four days ago, they had fallen over and were completely dead. Matt's Dorm GardenAfter poking and smelling the soil for a bit, one of my friends who works at a nearby arboretum informed me that I had overwatered them. Ironically enough, I just learned in my Biology class what happens to cells when hydrolysis – too much water around the cells – occurs. They explode. For my cucumbers, it was an epic fail.

As a final footnote, some hitchhikers have managed to make it into my room. I was surprised to find a worm crawling through my soil the other day, and an army of fruit flies has managed to set up camp in my garden. The worm is still enriching my soil; the fruit flies, however, are now finding themselves stuck to a newly purchased fly strip on my wall.

Plans for the future of the garden include replanting the cucumbers after Fall Break, possible lettuce, and maybe more green beans, but we’ll see. And now, I am going to enjoy a green-bean tomato salad.

Matthew Lehman

About Matthew Lehman

Matt is a college student in Central Kansas, and when he is not studying, he enjoys drinking coffee, photography, working in his 3 square feet of garden, and knitting. He currently is planning on becoming a youth minister.