Growing it forward
Tuesday April 18th 2023, 10:43 pm
Filed under: Friends,Garden,Life,LYS

How many years ago was it? Someone I only knew a little back when Purlescence was still open posted on FB about having all these extra tomato seedlings and it seemed terrible to throw them away but the whole packet’s worth was way more than she was going to put into the ground. Please. Somebody. Take!

She does not live close by but her office was kinda sorta halfway between us, so when I expressed some interest she dropped them off after work.

At the time I wondered why she would go to so much effort for such little things; years later, I totally get it. ¬†They’re yours, you’ve nurtured these, you know what they could give to someone, how could you not try.

It had been easily twenty years since I’d grown a tomato plant. I had no idea where the path of the sun relative to my yard was or where what was shaded when.

I watched some of hers grow and was inordinately proud that they did. I watched some get killed off by my inexperience; I never did get a Black Krim that year. But somehow, eventually I actually got to pick a tomato off my own vine that I had raised that had all started with her generosity and enthusiasm.

I was hooked, and even last year when every drop of water was being accounted for I grew a tomato plant. One single one. Bought at Costco at the last minute when I just couldn’t stand not having one.

Burpee’s and Park’s send out their catalogs in the thick of the January gray and cold (and, this year, rain.) Not before. They know their audience.

So. I had a few extra seedlings on standby after transplanting: nobody needs more than one zucchini plant (uhhh…) Okay, nobody needs three. I wanted to make sure I had replacements in case the snails devoured anything.

And yet… (Day 1, day 2, day 3…)

They were all fine…

I messaged my next door neighbor. I had one seedling each of Sungold tomato, butternut squash, and a zucchini leftover, and I’d planted all I was going to need for us; did she want them?

She’d love!

She had all kinds of questions. Could you grow them indoors? Do they need direct sun?

You can always try; they might get pretty big. Six hours, as far as I know, in order to produce. (Tomato: Oh yeah? Just watch me!) I told her of my crazy Sungold that kept going for three and a half years.

I knew how much she was going to enjoy watching those grow from tiny to productive, and walked away mentally thanking Janice all those years ago for starting this. It’s all her fault. I’m so glad.

Oh, and, I told her that squash vines can go on for 10-12 feet but I’d deliberately chosen varieties that grow small and straight up.


4 Comments so far
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One of those times that only in hindsight do we see what a turning point it was. So interesting to think about the might-have-beens!

Comment by ccr in MA 04.19.23 @ 6:35 am

Like a pebble dropped in a pond, the ripples are seemingly endless. How fun!

Comment by DebbieR 04.19.23 @ 8:54 am

They quit selling Sungold plants here two years ago–which seriously bummed me out. So last year I bought seeds, grew a healthy plant…which produced small sweet RED cherry tomatoes, having reverted to the Sweet Million parent. One of the hazards of hybrids, and the reason that seeds were not available for several years until they (ahem, theoretically) could get them to reliably breed true.

So fingers crossed that the two Sungold plants (I’ll give one away) in my kitchen window actually produce the right kind of fruit this year. Because I WANT SUNGOLDS again!

Comment by Marian 04.19.23 @ 10:13 pm

This reminded me of the lady who brought tomato plants (“twice as many as would fit in our space”) to the knitting group last spring. My postage stamp size front yard is just large enough for two big pots and one of the plants produced just the right amount of tomatoes for me to eat for several weeks.

Comment by Sharon Stanger 04.30.23 @ 1:42 pm



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