The five of us clawed the mud out of the deep groove that Fred had prepared in the earth. We had dropped the transplants next to the holes in the drip tape, about 2 feet apart, or every third hole. The water was running as we planted up the rows, and though it didn’t look as if it much water had spilled into the earth, as most of it had run into the groove, the holes were quite deep and filled with mud that clung to our fingers. It was like clay. I wondered if it was as full of magnesium as Bob Cannard had mentioned mud like this often was. I had to get each tomato plant out of the pot before sinking in the mud, because the webbing between my fingers was filled with it, and I had to free myself of it before trying to do something as rudimentally simple as getting a plant out of the pot. I was glad I brought my gloves.
We were Rommel, Miya, Rose, and Fred, and we leapfrogged up the rows, planting three full ones before we stopped. Because it was so windy, Fred was glad that we planted between rows of mustard and mizuna gone to flower and seed, because it offered a windbreak for the young plants. The second one was planted with “second bests” simply to gather their seed, should any prove to be exceptional, and also to see if the new varieties that Fred was planting was “breeding true”– meaning that the seeds of the variety are ready to sell in a catalog such as seeds of change. We planted them deep, because the places where the lower leaves grew from the stem would then produce roots, and create a better root system for the plant. Also, it would help prevent the plant from blowing over.
What we were in fact planting was Blush, and Prinipese Borghese. The first, a pink and yellow marble cherry tomato, bred by his son and gaining lots of favor at the last Tomatofest. The second, a drying tomato, meaning that the tomatoes can be stored on its vines, upside, for months later. For tomato paste. I’m looking forward to both.
But meanwhile, we dunked our hands into the earth again and again, goopy, sticky, soft and warm. I hope the plants do well.