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23' mini-trawler
by Schucker

Janice aboard Seaweed,
living the good life afloat...

Trawler life on a nickel budget is possible.
I'm doing it and you can too.

Janice Marois, nautical journalist.
Accredited member of Boat Writers International.

Thanks to those who chose to make purchases through my Amazon links found at the upper left corner of each page. This costs you nothing and does help fund my decadence. Plus, I appreciate it loads!!!

My mailing address is: Post Office Box 8284, Madeira Beach, FL 33738
15019 Madeira Way, Box 8284, Madeira Beach, FL  33708

Date: 10 February 2023. Expensive Tomatoes.

© janice142

As 2023 began I made a fresh start with my microgreens. Being able to have my own Victory Garden provides me a feeling of self-sufficiency in this sometimes chaotic world. In the meantime I want to become successful at growing tomatoes aboard Seaweed. Previous attempts can best be described as abject failures. For proof see the Upside Down Tomato Plant How-To and Tomato Rocket (Dollar Tree item) articles.

DISCLAIMER: The easiest way to have fresh salads is to sign up for Walmart-Plus (free delivery/no tipping) which will bring fresh produce along with loads of other products to your home within 24-hours. It is amazing, and has truly changed my life. Publix has a similar service.

I am definitely not an expert however I am motivated. A fresh
sliced tomato would be a nice addition to a bowl of salad greens.


Over the past year or two prices for everything have gone
through the roof. Thank goodness for time on the water.

Cap'n Noel's dog Peaches enjoys life onboard Party Boat.

Over the years Cap'n Noel has shared interesting observations about his family and life in general. A recent email caused me to redouble my tomato growing efforts. Noel wrote:

This seems like a normal thing to do. I mean, people go to the store, and buy tomatoes as a normal part of grocery shopping. Iím in Publix, and I politely ask the clerk who is stocking, and accidentally blocking my access to the beefsteak tomatoes, to please hand me one tomato. He does, and I put it in my basket, and I purchase it. When I get home, I look at the receipt. WOW!

Noel bought a single tomato for $4.87.

I absolutely do want more than simply microgreen salads.
Paying nearly $5 for a tomato is mighty expensive though.

Microgreens provide me with salad greens however I want to
expand my menu. Therefore I went to Dollar Tree (where
everything is now $1.25) to purchase another Tomato Rocket.

By mid January my tomato plants were growing and appear to be doing well.


Previous issues with flies when growing tomatoes caused me concern. This time I began spraying the plant with Neem Oil shortly after leaves first appeared.


I bought Neem Oil on Walmart for $10 in 2017. It is highly
concentrated. Amazon offers it at this *affiliate link: Neem Oil Extract.

*Affiliate link: That means if you purchase an item through my link a small percentage of the amount spent will be sent to me. This costs you nothing and does benefit my Cruising Kitty. I am grateful to those who shop via my Amazon links.

I do have an Amazon link at the top left corner of every page on my website... in case you wondered. ←HINT!

In addition to the tomatoes I am attempting to grow both
chives and scallions. This is my pathetic crop of those two thus far:

Quite frankly, I am still learning this whole food growing business. My motivation has been renewed by Cap'n Noel and his $4.87 tomato.

Noel paid nearly $5 for a single tomato. Since 2017 I have spent way more than $5 and successfully grown just ONE tomato. If memory serves me this is the list of expenditures: 2 hanging baskets, 3 coco-core basket liners, 4 or 5 sets of tomato seeds, 3 bags of special potting soil, one plastic support for the plant, Neem Oil Extract, ring snaps to hold the branches where I want them, plus time... a lot of time and effort have gone into this process.

In February my tomato plant is bushy, bug free and growing well.

The yellow flowers will hopefully turn into delicious tomatoes.

Last year my tomato plant produced one
small tomato. It was cute, and delicious.

Upon careful examination I recently discovered the
first tomato of 2023. Finally, progress is being made.

This tomato is just less than 3/4" (2 cm) across. There are a lot of
yellow flowering buds so I am hoping to find more baby tomatoes soon.

I wanted to be able to guide the plant, keeping it
from spreading. There is not a lot of space in my cockpit.

Plant clips were purchased on eBay. These are
reusable, at least until the plastic rots in the sun.

Here is an eBay link for you: Tomato Clips. Once the search results load, look on the right side of your screen just below the blue Search button. "Best Match" will appear. Click that. Next scroll down to "Price + Shipping: lowest first" and click that. BE CAREFUL!!! The first few will be for a single clip. You will want more than one clip.

Also, I checked on Temu and the price is approximately half of what eBay sellers charge. Again, be careful as some sellers are offering just one clip. On Temu you MUST order a minimum of $20 from the website. The variety of items is good. Search is not great. Shipping is free. The items I purchased have been for the most part good quality.  Here is a link: https://temu.com (Temu does have an app which I have not tried)

NOTE: Temu has an annoying pop-up advertisement when you first open it.

The tomato plant I started last autumn is doing well. Thus far I have not experienced any bug infestations. That is in my opinion due to the Neem Oil Extract I spray on the plant regularly. If I can get a reliable harvest I will be pleased.

Walt Disney World inspired my initial growing attempts.
Their gardens supply all the salads sold in the entire resort!


Since I discovered my first tomato I have been
searching diligently for another. I've found one!!!

My newest tomato has arrived. You may see a
tiny bit of the yellow flower it emerged from also.

Though at first glance growing tomatoes aboard seems like a good idea, this is not necessarily true. I have had bug infestations. Thus far with the addition of Neem Oil Extract that problem appears to have been resolved. There is however one issue which may put tomato plants out of reach of many small boat owners.

The heavy water requirements necessary
when growing tomatoes surprised me.

My tomato plant is in a plastic basket under the cockpit overhang and shaded for the greater part of the day. The hanging basket I use is 5" (13cm) deep. I am certain these plants are not usually grown in such a small amount of dirt. For my boating friends with limited water at this point I cannot recommend growing your own tomatoes.

I add approximately one pint (1/2 liter) of water to my tomato plants daily.  When I add less water the plant wilts.


There have been many attempts to grow tomatoes aboard Seaweed.

When younger I was certain I could not grow anything. In retirement aboard Seaweed I have proven that untrue. My original goal was to harvest a salad a day. With microgreens I have succeeded in that. This is not just a "put the seed in the ground and in x-months food will appear" process. As for me, I am happy to learn while I have easy access to grocery stores.

Though Cap'n Noel paid $4.87 cents for a single beefsteak tomato, he has a tomato to eat. Over the past few years I have spent nearly $20 and grown one tomato about the size of a mandarin orange. Cap'n Noel is definitely the winner in this round.

I hope the current attempt raising tomatoes meets my expectations. In any event I will let you know. If you are like me and wish to become more self-sufficient there are many means to accomplish that goal. Being able to fix an engine is important. So too is food acquisition. Some folks fish. Others become gardeners.

I have learned growing food successfully is far
more difficult than the pretty packages of seeds infer.

DISCLAIMER: The easiest way to have fresh salads is to sign up for Walmart-Plus (free delivery/no tipping) which will bring fresh produce along with loads of other products to your home within 24-hours. It is amazing, and has truly changed my life. Publix has a similar service.

The most important part of boating is actually using your vessel.

Thank you for being a part of my world. Thanks too for reading.  

Comments welcome and encouraged on the Expensive Tomatoes page.

Categories: Characters, Galley, Memory Lane (comments), Money, Pets,


Announcement: Folks who want to be notified when I post are welcome to become subscribers. I email readers every time a new article goes up. That's usually once or twice per week. If you'd like to be included via BCC* simply drop me a line to janice@janice142.com and I'll add you. It's free.

*BCC - Blind Carbon Copy. Basically no one but me will have your email address and the list of subscribers is not available.

Now this is not fancy. Basically I copy off the top three items in my Archive file. That way you can catch up if life gets in the way of your reading fun.

Secret: If you want to know what's what, start in the Archive. It offers you the title, first paragraph and topics (Categories) covered in each article published on my website.



Something a new reader might not realize: Almost every picture on this website can be clicked. The photo will get larger when clicked. Do that a second time and the picture should be full size. Enjoy...

My Cruising Kitty earns money each time you buy on Amazon through my links found in the upper left corner of every page. This is a tangible way to support me and is greatly appreciated.

Thanks for your support, and heck, just for being here. I appreciate that more than you can imagine.

Paypal Tablet link:  *CRUISING KITTY
*for those who wish to donate direct to me via paypal.

Pet of the Week: Peaches
on Party Boat

Submit your pet's photo.
Please email pictures of your crew!

More canine, feline and feathered crew members can be found on the The First Mate Gallery page.


The Archive holds a chronological list of every item published on my website. It includes a brief synopsis (not just the title) along with the topics covered in each article.

Click on the title and voila: you're there. Enjoy!

Skipper, First Mate extraordinaire

Of course every boat needs a Deck Swabbie. Mine, born in 2008, is a papillon mix. She weighs in at five pounds.

Coming soon ...


Topics of Interest:
You can achieve a simple satisfying life

Oh, a wondrous bird is the pelican!
His bill holds more than his belican.
He can take in his beak enough food for a week.
But I'm darned if I know how the helican.
(Poem by Dixon Lanier Merritt, 1879-1972.)


For years I've been collecting short pithy statements otherwise known as aphorisms. If you're like me and enjoy the weird, go ahead and CLICK!

These are previously posted at the bottom of each article -- for new, you'll have to come visit again.

Seaweed is in St. Pete right now.

The above chart (#411) can be a wish book of sorts as you look over your domain and wonder where to go next. And yes, I do have the originals (sans red arrow) as jpeg's for download should you desire your own for closer perusal. Enjoy!

The Writer's Block

It's my belief that other folks who boat are some of the most interesting in the world. Inside every boater is a story. Let yours out! I'd love to post short stories, vignettes, or even longer articles that focus on some aspect of our life on or near the water. Suggested topics include:

1. I Remember When...
2. My First Boat
3. Who inspired you to be a boater?
4. Fishing Trips or Tricks
5. Or another subject of your choosing

For the novice, here's how to write: Simply pretend you're sending a letter to a friend. Tell about an event or a memory from years ago that you still recall.

Life has changed so much on the water since I was born aboard. Personally I'd love to hear your memories of life when you were younger. Boats were smaller, narrower, and much slower. Kids were kids and our families often shaped the adult we have become. Here are my two aboard the tow boat my dad ran for a time:

Your pictures would be wonderful too. I posted one of Boot Key Harbor taken in 2001 that has gotten quite a few downloads and really, that's not so terribly long ago... Do you have any photos to share? Email me.

Do you want to help out?

Often an article for the website will be completely written yet lack photographs. I like pictures and am looking for some for up-coming pieces:

  • Pets afloat (include pet and boat name please)

  • Any picture of boats underway or at anchor

  • Photos of people enjoying life in or on the water

Size: a minimum of 1000 pixels across please. If that doesn't make sense think bigger versus resized for emailing. I prefer the full-size version. Also, the name you'd like me to use when I add the copyright stuff to your picture. And thanks bunches!

My email address is janice@janice142.com

Thanks for visiting. If you happen to see my boat along the
waterways, give a call on Channel 16. I'm always listening.

click picture to enlarge

My home is not fancy by any means, however you cannot imagine how wonderful it is to come back to her after an expedition on shore.

If I can live this life, why not you too?

Skipper, First Mate

Aphorism Alert: Begin doing what you want to now. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand, and melting like a snowflake. Marie Beyon Ray.

Contributions to my Cruising Kitty
are always appreciated.

Every gift helps.

The Cruising Kitty is what boaters refer to as spending money. There's never enough aboard Seaweed!

I am also an Amazon Affiliate.


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