Many years ago, I had a boyfriend who decided he wanted a pet cat. One weekend, we went out to the pet store (despite my insistence he adopt a shelter animal) where he bought two kittens and all the gear they needed. We brought them back to his house, fed them, let them sniff everything, and then I went home.
Around midnight, my phone rang. It was this boyfriend, freaking out over the idea that he was now responsible for two small animals who were completely dependent on him for their happiness and well-being. I talked him down from his panic, he got used to the idea, and now, as far as I know, the two cats — Frida and Monkey — live with him still.
At the time, I thought it was hilarious: a grown man going to pieces over a couple of wee kittens. Or at least, I thought it was funny until I went to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s annual plant sale (which was quite lovely and you can see more photos in this in this Flickr set) and came home with two wee seedlings, a tomato plant and a bean plant.
I think I’ll call them Frida and Monkey.
I can’t explain quite why, but I am completely unnerved by the idea of growing these two plants. I’ve had loads of houseplants (most of which lived). I think it’s the idea that these plants have a purpose beyond just looking good — and I’m afraid I’m going to bollix it up but good.
So. Tell me everything you think I need to know about growing a tomato or bean plant in a container. Talk me down here, people. There’s two little planty lives hanging in the balance.