The tomato imperative

I purchased a packet of tomato seeds four days ago. What happened to the ones I saved from last year’s abundant crop is anybody’s guess. The packet sat in my back pack for approximately 15 kilometres, this being the distance I have walked this week. Naturally, this was not my only concern in the last few days, but I did not know until this morning where or how I was going to plant the seeds. I have run out of containers, for one thing.

As I left the café this morning, I spotted a faded deck chair with a metal frame that someone had left at the communal rubbish bin. It took me about three seconds to inspect it for re-purposing potential. I carried it home, with a spring in my step.

First off was the canvas, now covering one of my many compost heaps. Then, I removed the contoured sides and, using a recently liberated nut and bolt, secured the two sides together for use as a future frame for a future polytunnel. I have another something for what will be the other end.

Photo taken at night.

Nothing like two-inch and four-inch nails to make quick work of creating an aesthetically sad but sturdy table:

The wooden armrests of this former deck chair made conversion easy.

I did have some qualms about taking the above photo with all the untidiness in the background, but my delight at the possibility of putting something on top of my new piece of furniture had me throw caution to the wind.

The tomatoes needed planting. Since most of my tools were now outside, and not in their designated box inside, I decided to plant the seeds. I had to make a tray for them though, cut through cardboard for the sides of the crate, find decent soil (and a goodly number of worms). For the worms, I cut some grass and placed this at the bottom of the crate. On top of that I put ordinary soil from a recently dug vegetable bed (containing the worms), and then on top of all that, took some soil from my raised bed made out of pallets, which is so loamy now, it is probably better than any compost. Perfect for tomato seeds.

I had a merry time with my hammer, banging flat two old metal tubes, which used to be broom handles, and so constructed a frame, over which I put some clear plastic which started life as protective covering for my 24″ computer screen three years ago. Once I had planted the seeds, I secured the plastic with a bit of old fencing wire sourced from the back shed. I encase the wire in a length of old rubber tubing from an old hosepipe, just to add a touch of colour. I am ever so pleased with the resulting mini-greenhouse. And, as you can see, I have tidied up.

One of the warmest (and tidiest) spots: perfect for germination of tomato seeds.

Last year, I harvested at least a crate of tomatoes, and if these seeds take, then there should be a whole lot more this year. What excites me is that this year, I shall be growing the tomatoes on a string. I first saw this method in action twelve years ago. Some things take time, I suppose. More about that when I have something to show.

In other activity (not pictured), I added another row of wire to the trellises for the peas, planted five or six pumpkin seedlings, and weeded my tiny carrot plants, and dug some more of the vegetable-bed-in-progress. The rush to find accommodation for all budding seedlings is on!

Somewhere in the middle of all of that, I had a couple of visitors, and so picked the third bag of lemons of my tree in two days (not that you can tell, there are so many), gave them couve (kale, more or less), and clementines, and dug up some arum lilies, roots and all, at the request of one, and picked a few flowers at the request of the other. I love it when people receive things from my garden with the joy with which they are given.

I also love the way gardening has its own time, and how needs, such as the imperative to plant tomato seedlings now, are met if you daydream about them for a while.

I bet you are wondering how often I checked, and answered, e-mails on this weekday afternoon. About every half hour, or so. There are other imperatives besides the tomato kind.

©2019 Allison Wright

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