Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Lola Tomato Sprout

Lola Tomato by Taproot Garden
Lola Tomato, a photo by Taproot Garden on Flickr.

Some sprouts emerge like a sentinel, straight and proud; others, like this tomato varietal, unroll, yoga-like, as if emerging from the fetal position. Truth be told, I had essentially given up on this heirloom varietal. The small seeding cells have remained blank and austere since their late February inhabitation. Other seeds had sprouted -- though slowly -- and appear to be gaining strength. These six cells, however, remained quiet.

I had selected these seeds for more than horticultural reasons. The variety is, indeed, an heirloom; and only a few seeds were included in the tiny envelope secured in the larger package. There apparently is something special about the breed. But this particular tomato shares its name with my paternal grandmother -- Lola -- and I couldn't resist the purchase and the chance to cultivate this symbolic way of bringing her back to life.

But the weeks have passed, and the soil remained still.

Perhaps it is the past couple of warmer days that have stirred the movement; perhaps these particular seeds have taken their own peculiar time. Whatever the reason or the prompt, this afternoon the upper back and shoulders of this fragile stem broke through. By tomorrow morning I suspect it will have straightened and found its better posture. Perhaps then, a neighbor or two to join it. Indeed, in the last 24 hours the shelved neighborhood has shown considerable activity and progress.

I have often observed that it doesn't take very many birdies to keep a golfer coming back. I suppose the same can be said about sprouting seeds for a gardener.

Already I feel like coming back -- like spring might offer something promising after all.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Gift of Even Tiny Signs of Life

It still seems unfathomable to me -- as ineffably mysterious as Jesus turning water into wine.  How is it that those tiny seeds can become stems and leaves and edible things?  I'll admit that I was losing faith.  Since February 25 I have been talking, with no indication that any horticultural ears were listening.  For two weeks now those compost-filled cells into which I had secreted various vegetable seeds have greeted me each morning with the same blank landscape, though I have dutifully -- albeit less and less optimistically -- sprinkled saved rain water onto their surface. 

Until today.  Checking back in my notes from last year's first season, the first sprouts of green emerged 12 days after sowing, with subsequent varieties appearing in successive days.  Monday -- this year's comparable benchmark -- passed without even a hint of stirrings.  Today, however -- day 14 -- just as I considering vegetable abortion in the interest of saving water, tiny green shoots emerged from the jalapenos and tomatillos.  Looking still closer, signs of life are insinuating movements among still others of the "crop."  Though it is still too early to tell what all might eventually mature and what might still fizzle beneath the soil, nature has yet again afforded me a helpful and humbling lesson in patience.

Everything in its own time.

Savoring, then, the memory of the salad we enjoyed earlier in the week from those seeds I sowed in November, and taking inspiration from these tiny nudgings of progress, I settle back down to the satisfying anticipation of a garden that just might happen this season after all.