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.


“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.


The “getting to know you” period.

Tomorrow will mark nine months in our new home. I thought it may be time to introduce myself to the soil. Yes, really, it has taken this long. But by “I thought it may be time” what I really meant was that work, the weather, the kiddo, my Daycare Immune System Marathon, and my energy levels all conspired to give me a gift – opportunity.

So Friday afternoon, amidst sunshine and high 50s, I took the shovel, the dog, and the wheelbarrow into the front yard. The Great Grass Removal was underway. The soil here seems lovely. Dark, rich, and crumbly. When I first got to know the soil at our last house, in 100 square feet of triple dug (go big or go home?) earth, I found precisely two earth worms amidst soil that refused to release the roots within it. Here I find fat happy worms two to the shovelful and the soil goes with the flow, shaking off into the air with the bang of each grass clump against the shovel. Forget a front heat bed repeat, I could plant tomatoes right alongside the curb! (And just might, seeing as I have thirty of them…)

The first wheelbarrow was nearly full, my ankle was reminding me that this was my first real shovel work since its last injury, and then the dog perked up his head and started sauntering down the walk. I looked up and saw he was shyly wagging his way to meet the neighbor two houses down, so I followed. Our dog minds well on good days, minds with mediocrity on some days, and gets a mind of his own on occasion. He’s eighty-five pounds of strong sweetheart but has his triggers after he was attached two years ago, so we never lack for caution. An hour later, he and I both felt as though we had made a new friend and the sun was slipping. It was going to drop into the 20s again soon, so I cleaned up, packed up, and we went went back inside to check on my little tomatoes, now in their 4″ pots of garden soil, seed starter, and coir.