Remember when I was so struck by how quickly we'd filled the propagation house in February? Three weeks had flown by since the first seeds were planted, and the season seemed to have hit the ground running. Today, as I deposited trays of wild overgrown tomatoes to the ground beneath the nursery benches, I realized how quickly it's accelerated and never looked back.
The tomatoes are more than ready to be transplanted. We'd even transferred them over to the high tunnel they've live in before the plant sale, only to carry them back on Friday to protect them from the wind storm. They were still waiting at the end of the benches this morning, and now they'll be waiting on the ground, still waiting, when I walk in tomorrow. They're flopping over, lost when their canopy gets broken up in the moves, ready to be staked and pruned and tied up neatly in their next homes. Maybe being on the ground for a night or two will help them acclimate to their next stage. Maybe they needed a break from the sun, anyway...
They were dethroned from the prime real estate of the middle bench to make room for the next plant sale peppers. We dethroned quite a lot of basil, too, from that coveted, extra-warm area of the nursery, since it will doubtless be big enough to sell in five weeks. The peppers need all the help they can get to size up for the next sale-- they're very slow-growing and tend to stay thin even when they're pot bound. Some of the varieties, especially hot peppers, stay even smaller just from genetics: petite peppers pack a punch. (Try that one five times fast!) So they get the middle bench, while the basil found random pockets of free space on the outer benches, and the tomatoes were just out of luck.
Not all the tomatoes, though. I'm happy to report that the batch of tomatoes I grafted a couple weeks ago have recovered nicely and are filling out. The earlier batch that Ted grafted is about to pop free of their clips, and are pushing out new dark green growth after being potted up to three-inch pots. I still feel like a mad scientist, and I'm still in awe of how the only evidence of being severed in half ends up a dainty scar, soon to be nearly invisible near the soil level. I suppose tomatoes aren't the only organism that shows such resilience. I wonder if, like an ache from a bone broken in childhood or the deep quaking of long-ago heartbreak, these tomatoes will remember the day I cut them in two and made them whole again.