Friday, May 9, 2014

Keep your feet to yourself!

For the last 4 weeks I have coddled and protected over 400 seedlings.  I lovingly cradled them as precious seeds, gently placed them in soil that was kept at a constant 75 degree temperature, provided them with water, and 192,000 lumens of light.  I transplanted the seedlings as their containers got too small, all while they were growing away, and finally the time came.  Last night, I transplanted 20 Mortgage Lifter tomatoes and 4 Purple Cherokee tomatoes into the ground.  I fretted about this decision, because now that they have left my care, I can no longer protect them from the outside world.  From things like birds, squirrels, Labrador Retrievers, or FEET.  That's right I said feet.....

After worrying about my little babies all night, and fretting over their safety, I roll into the community garden tonight and 2 of my Mortgage Lifter's had been flattened.  Please note they were not flattened in a "the wind whipped me back and forth" sort of way, but more like "a shoe flattened me" sort of way.  (This was also evident by the large foot print that was imprinted in the soil surrounding my plants...)  I was sad, but ran home real quick, grabbed 2 more tomato plants, replaced the assulted ones and was just getting ready to leave when a gentleman shows up and starts working in the garden next to me.  We exchange pleasantries, I offered him a few heirloom Cherokee Purple seedlings that I had left over, and WHAM!  

With his back to my garden, deep in thought with his hand scratching his chin, his big foot lands on my plants!  I kindly said:  "Excuse me, I think you just stepped on my tomato plants."  He looks down at his feet, which have now moved off my flattened seedlings and replies:  "No, I don't think I did.  They look sort of wilted to me.  Maybe you should water them more often."  This is the part of the story where I execute my ability to filter folks, even though I think my tongue was bleeding at this point....  

I said:  "Oh, they have been watered, kept warm, prayed over, and given everything necessary to live for the last 4 weeks.  Look at the other 22 plants, they are just fine!  I wonder what would cause the plants right in this particular spot of the garden to have been crushed twice?!"   

He looked at me, shrugged his shoulders and goes:  "I don't think you should expect 100% success in gardening anyway.  You always have those plants that just don't make it."

In my mind, all I could think was:  You're right sir, you always have those plants that don't make it, but mine stand a better chance without your shoes on top them!  The Reluctant Farmer will be erecting a fence tomorrow.  One to keep out rabbits, squirrels, and feet.....

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