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you say 'tomato,' i say 'four score and seven years ago, i was very disappointed.'

my preliminary seed starting has been an abysmal failure this year.  first of all, i started them way too late.  second of all, i left my seed flats outside (as per last year's successful winter sowing endeavor), except that we had a really windy day and the flimsy pots blew all over my yard.  so then i tried to recover them as best as possible, and i actually had a few sprouts come up after a week or two.  but then i moved the flats inside, and made the dastardly mistake of leaving them within arms' reach of the kids, and all the popsicle stick markers were moved around.  it was seriously like one of those 'which cup is the bean under' scams, only i wasn't around to see the cups moved, and i really have no idea where to begin guessing.

so now i have like four pathetic-looking seedlings (out of around 40 planted) that have sprouted, but i have no idea what they are.  (seedlings are literally the newborns of the plant world, and just like human newborns, they're all kind of the-same-looking, all scrawny and fuzzy and sour-faced.  you could try to be nice and act like you can tell Yellow Grape Tomato's baby from Bonny Best's baby, but without its proper nametag to go off of, everyone knows you're just being pretentious.)  i could take my chances and plant them and be surprised come august, but i'm not a surprises-are-awesome kind of gal.  i don't like playing it fast and loose with limited garden space.  plus, i'm weirdly particular about tomato plants.  i need at least one salad tomato plant, one paste tomato, one beefsteak-style plant and one new-to-me breed.  they need to be heirloom varieties.  i don't know, don't ask.  i'm just a freak.

but most of all, i was crazy excited to grow 'abraham lincoln' tomatoes this year, for two reasons.  first, i am ob.sessed. with abraham lincoln.  i'm not going to get into it here, but it's true.  slap that bearded face on whatever novelty item you want, charge an exhorbitant amount for it, and i will definitely be like, 'that is a tasteful item, and reasonably priced, and also i'll die if i don't have it.'  so the moment i discovered that my library's seed exchange had a packet of ten - count them, ten - 'abraham lincoln' tomato seeds could best be summed up as beatific.

second, i am also ob.sessed. with first-hand farm accounts.  (i muttered this sentence to a friend the other day, and her response was to laugh and say, 'yes, you really are.  not that there's anything wrong with that.')  and there's one autobiography in particular that i read most years, and the author has only glowing things to say about the 'abraham lincoln' tomato.  i mean, i'm not at all surprised - if the tomato plant itself possesses any of the qualities of its namesake (stalwart, deeply-rooted, stately but relatable, firm but lovable, towering, etc etc etc) then there is no reason to doubt it would be anything but wonderful.

but anyway, all that to say, i have no way to tell if my 'abraham lincolns' survived the Wintery Blast, and that just kills me.  i can't guarantee i'll find replacement seedlings at the farmer's market.  so i'll just have to plant some stupid 'early girl' or 'black krim' or whatever other tomato starts Joe Blow CF Farmer's Market Guy decides to hoc.  and things will be fine, and my garden will be fine, and i'll probably live, but by golly, i won't be happy about it.

1 comment :

todd said...

we should name the new baby 'tomato' or 'abraham lincoln'