The announcement popped in my email inbox, and my heart thrilled with equal parts intimidation and possibility. Seattle Tilth’s Edible Plant Sale, May 2 and 3! Having added another bed to the garden, I was ready for action. But I knew restraint was in order.
You see, I’m a killer.
It’s really a shame, because I’m a nice person and all. But through the years some perfectly innocent plants have been sacrificed in the name of my education. Not to misrepresent myself. My giant dinosaur tomatoes were the talk of the neighborhood a couple years ago, so I am capable of sustaining robust plant life. The question to ask, though, is how many (root) balls can I really juggle?
When I assured Michael that we’d just do tomatoes, cukes, zucchini and a few herbs, I knew deep down that I would be weak when faced with the seductive options at the sale. And even if I stuck with my safe and short list, I was still choosing between over 50(!) varieties of tomatoes. Ahead of time I pored over a list of this year’s offerings with a highlighter, ruthlessly hacking down my options.
This morning, there was a line as long as the one at the Police’s reunion concert’s opening night. But inside all was a gentle, dreamy wonderland. Time slowed and the air smelled of pungent thyme and sweet basil. Other content gardeners, probably capable of keeping their entire gardens alive, picked up small pots and lovingly examined tender baby leaves of winter squash, tomatoes, and peppers.
Armed with my list, a wagon, and good intentions, I felt prepared. Strong. Distracted…No! Strong! So how did that wagon accrue celeriac, shiso leaf, and a gourmet lettuce mix? Beats me. It was part of the blur between the tarragon and the strawberries I also wasn’t planning on getting. C’mon! It’s all so tiny and 3-bucks-apiece-y. The amount I spent on the plants was less than I’d spend on a weekly grocery shopping trip. And it’s a gift that keeps on giving, because THIS year I will save my seeds, grow my own starts, and be a good person.
I continued to reassure myself with other promises as I crammed one last pot into the wagon. The haze had lifted, and I looked at my wagon-full of work to do, and I felt heart-thumping commitmentphobia, as if I were about to adopt a crate of helpless puppies—though with puppies you don’t kill them and then try again next year, knowing full well what you are capable of.
Maybe next time I should bring a chaperone. For the plants’ sake.