So, nearly two weeks ago, we plotted out where our most precious 30 plants will go, and Kevin went to work. The thermometer registered 52 degrees — a full 30 degrees lower than last year. And the air was dry as a bone.
After hefting the maul to hammer in the first pipe or two, Kevin had another Einstein moment and suggested that we angle the bottom edge to make it easier to drive the PVC sleeves in. Out came the radial arm saw. Zipft. Zipft. Zipft. A pile of white plastic shavings later, we were ready to put his idea to the test.
What a difference!
In less than an hour, all 30 were in place, ready for the wooden stakes to be dropped in at a later date. I’m sure this whole process will never register as Kevin’s favorite garden chore, but he seemed far less frustrated and tired than he’s been in past springs.
Whenever conditions seem appropriate, I can transplant tomatoes without a smitch of guilt — or having to turn up my wifely charms. Even if some would say it’s steamy, muggy or oppressive. The hard work is already done!
By now, the tray of San Marzano, Matt’s wild cherry, opalka, orange banana, Principe Borghese and mortgage lifter tomatoes that I started from seeds last month has been hardening off on the porch. The plants are getting used to real sunshine, real temperature swings and real wind. Soon they’ll be ready to be plunked into real ground.
Whenever time allows, I can nestle these beauties into holes sprinkled with epsom salt, then “mud” them in with a deep drink of fish emulsion — regardless of whether the “real feel” is registering at 95 degrees and it’s humid enough to soak a shirt while sitting in the shade.
As I contemplated how much progress we’ve made, incorporating what we’ve learned into practical solutions that prevent problems or ease our woes, it dawned on me that we have yet to install the 8-foot-tall bean poles — which also are slipped into PVC sleeves.
Maybe not so smart.