Slumber parties.

Their first night in the ground always leaves me apprehensive. Lone beacons of fresh greens in an open plain. The earth is awakening and there are empty bellies roaming.

Their pot homes become cloches. Their new beds make up an anchor for their hats. Sleep well, little starts.

Until the morning…

Now where to plant the 18 or so tomatoes still in pots…

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Fiend.

There’s a fiend in my house. No matter the hour, the meal, or the availability – she wants them.

And sow I put in twenty of them. And while this will not suffice to her appetites, it may help with a budding understanding of seasons, consumption, and responsibility.

Until then, and after, the clamshells that transport her fix will be cherished as squirrel and bird deterrents to her papa’s fix, potted up one final time before the giant leap for garden kind.

7-11 tomatoes.

They used to be saved Sonic cups. Then we stopped going to Sonic.

They used to not pot up larger than my hoard of 4″ pots. Then we didn’t harvest much.

Last year, I ventured into the nearby 7-11 to buy 24 Big Gulp cups. $2/sleeve and I was set. Then my one baby wrecking crew prevented saving them to this year.

Today:

“Hi, I’d like to buy a sleeve of big gulp cups, please.

– Um. Let me get the woman who can help you…

(It’s the same woman!)

“Oh, hi! We did this last spring, too. I’d like to buy a sleeve of big gulp cups, please. Actually… two sleeves this year.”

First Woman – Can I ask what you do with these?

” I pot up my tomatoes.”

Second Woman – They’re on the house this year. Be sure you bring any extra tomatoes this way. There’s a donation jar for the food bank down the counter if you’re so inclined.

“Will do!”

They were overdue and hungry, hence the yellow here and there. Maybe ten more days, maybe three weeks. Then they’ll be potted up to their necks for the third and final time, getting their roots a good 12-18″ deep to weather our hot, dry summers for a second harvest come fall.

Hours ending.

The softness of the soil entrapped in a milkweed’s grasp. The moments between dog barks, airplanes, and old cars driven by young people insistently down the road. The expansion from seed tray to 4″ pots. The addition of seed trays. The tender trust in Echinacea stems.

There’s so much nutrition in the garden before anything ever touches our tongues.

“Hey honey… is there anything sown in the back left bed because…” Sprint outside.

Soft light covers

I didn’t sow any snow peas this year… odd.

They didn’t mind their light blanket so much as their bean neighbors did. A small final harvest, but I marvel at any bean harvest in December.

The volunteer cherry tomato plant weathered the frost, so those will not be the last winter bites of tang.

And skeptical of the forecast, my love harvested the limes. Twenty two in all and when he unwrapped Bill the next day, he was no worse for the wear…including a few incognito limes left hanging.

I do hope the butterflies will return to the lantana. There was a true kaleidoscope of them alight upon the blossoms some days.

A tomato slow down

And a pepper pick-me-up.

Almost on cue, the garden is packing it in for the summer. The tomato vines are drying up. Some fruit ripens on brown vines. Other fruit dehydrates where it hangs. 

With some help and a helper’s chipper, any soil exposed by the dying crops is now mulched by the gift of a fallen limb.

It may be a bit early, but I couldn’t help myself. I have the first of the fall crop transplants sown in plugs in the laundry room. 

The outdoor oven (aka the weather) has begun. Perhaps I’ll set aside some corn stalks for Halloween. They’re drying where they stand quite nicely.