As the seedlings push up in their plug trays and sunshine blesses us with a little more warmth, we are glad for longer days, shorter nights, and more time to get outside.
Tomatoes and cucumbers have a way of fooling even the best of gardeners. In previous years, we three gardening families who share this land have always begun our gardening season with the planting of tomatoes and cucumbers. Tentatively we have put those seeds in their trays, hoping for good germination and a juicy crop somewhere down the road. Several years running we have taken twiggy, starved-for-outside-light seedlings and put them in the greenhouse, thinking, “these can’t catch up now, can they? They are so very tiny.” We even purchased backup plants, just in case.
Two years in a row those seedlings eventually outpaced the robust backup plants purchased at the farmer’s market and went on to produce that juicy crop we’d been hoping for.
This year our tomatoes and cucumbers fooled us again: since germination is not supposed to be very reliable when seeds are several years old, we planted our new seed, along with a whole bunch of our old. They couldn’t all come up now, could they?
Apparently they could, and the scramble for space and bigger pots has begun. Oddly enough, the seeds that germinated poorly last year are thriving this year. Who knows what tomatoes and cucumbers really like? It appears an equal mix of sunshine, nutrients, sterile soil, and unpredictability.
Just to keep things interesting.