Roots and light
Friday May 01st 2015, 10:24 pm
Filed under: Family,Garden,Life,Lupus

“You’ve always liked to garden,” he said today.

“Yes, but I didn’t for years,” I answered, saying that I think it was because having grown up an outdoorsy type and being so sun-confined with my lupus, I think I was afraid that if I broke out of that at all I’d get more and more reckless with it and so I’d kept that side of myself tamped down hard. For years. It was just easier not to have to look too up close at that sense of loss. Years ago, when getting to see my children grow up was a long way off and by no means a sure thing and I was doing everything I could, I suddenly realized one day that I’d just spent six months without even once walking all the way around my own back yard.

Now I feel like I’m reclaiming not just it but me. I deeply need to dig in the dirt and to see life coming forth from it. I picture Parker planting the seeds of all his apples and it just makes my day every time: from my botany-loving Grandfather Jeppson who died before I knew him and yet whom my Dad says I take after to my grandson, a straight line down the ages through every circumstance.

I reminded myself of that conversation with my husband as I went out to put my tomatoes in the ground at 6:00 pm. It was a little early in the evening for May but I had a lot to do. I kept my back to the sun and hey, look! The first actual tomato!

Oops. My critter cover didn’t fit over that tall tomato cage. I need to figure out how to set that wiring around them all, it’s been wrapped too long and wants to sproing inward on itself a little too hard. Might take two sets of hands and Richard was off at a ham radio meeting.

All these tomato plants were planted at the same time in the same seed starter kit. Two were moved into a bigger pot early on and put outside in direct sun; a third awhile after; and the rest, well, they were left in front of what wasn’t a great window for sun exposure to begin with. Look at that difference, and the roots far more so: a gallon of soil held tight vs, for the smallest, no discernible side roots, only the white squiggle it started out of the seed with. Same age.

Problem was that I’d needed more soil and buying more soil meant being out in the sun at the nursery during business and non-rush-hour hours and finally I simply did it.

The little ones will catch up soon enough.

And yes, I blogged several weeks ago about planting new seedlings. They were from the same batch as these and they all died in the first 24 hours. I transitioned the rest more gently from scraggles in the window to being in bigger pots outside to in the ground and I waited till I had most of them too far along for the snails to go after.

And then I went looking for baby apples and snapped clamshell covers over all the sweet Fujis I could find and as many of the more sour, less vulnerable Yellow Transparents as I could. Some of last year’s clamshells had given up the ghost; I clearly need more. A good problem to have this year.


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My Italian grandparents were fantastic gardeners. I grew up in the apartment above theirs so I was lucky enough to watch them cultivate a tiny piece of dirt beside the building. Every time Grandpa and Nana tended to their plants they would make sure I knew what everything was… tomatoes, peppers, parsley, basil. Oh the basil! Nana would rub the leaves between her fingers and breathe in that delicious aroma! So I would do the same. And even after they moved into senior housing and could no longer have a garden, Nana would grow rosemary in flower pots on the sill until the stem looked like a tree trunk! I don’t have that green thumb for herbs and vegetables. I have to be satisfied with my orchids and other non-edibles.

Comment by Jody 05.02.15 @ 4:27 am

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