I had to wait a couple days to write about the plant sale, and I'm glad I did. People keep asking me how it went, and I've narrowed down my telling to a few key details: the weather cooperated for the morning with sunshine and wind, an impressive amount of people came out considering the dismal weather forecast, there were the perfect amount of people helping out throughout the day, and we ended up breaking our sales record by the end of it all. We've gotten it to run as smoothly as possible, people gave us great feedback about the plants, and I was personally quite happy to be healthy and have a voice, unlike last year.
That's the short story, and I'm not going to drag into the long story here. Instead, I'm imagining how all those baby plants are doing in their new homes.
No doubt many of them are still sitting in their pots on people's doorsteps or garages, starting to reach for sunlight and recover from the violent jerking and sliding they went through to get to the sale tables. Even in their pots, they might be adjusting to new neighbors mingling with their canopy: the onions feeling lettuce leaves for the first time, the spinach getting bit scratched up by some unruly artichokes, the kale acclimatizing to aldehydes (the chemicals that create cilantro's smell) infusing its airspace. Others are already planted out after a nice day like today, and experiencing the opposite: all of a sudden, after over a month growing shoulder-to-shoulder with its cousins, each little plant is settling in to its own space, new soil and critters slipping around its roots, new voices singing songs and making comments on its beautiful foliage.
I can even still track some of them. A few peas went home with my friend Larissa. My old coworker Jillian carried off a box with her baby in tow. Alan, who I lived with until recently, gathered his tried-and-true spring garden favorites to plant in the back yard I awoke to for many seasons. Several Food for Lane County staff members also purchased plants for their home gardens, and our interns and youth farmers left with collections of starts that they'll end up seeing through from seed to harvest. It's reassuring to know that they're in such good hands.
Others were never sold. We did go back to the farm to get a couple loads of trays when stock started to run low, but there were still some ultimately left on the hardening-off benches. At the end of the sale, we filled the old Ford flatbed with trays for Food for Lane County partner agency gardens, which will start going out this week. The rest, a bit mangled from the ordeal but still bright and colorful, we loaded back into that giant box truck and unloaded, in the pouring rain, back at the farm at the end of the day. More partner agencies and garden education organizations will come to retrieve them this week, and then they'll spend the rest of their days as educational tools to show youth and adults how to garden and cook.
And the rest? All those hundreds of tomatoes and nasturtiums and beets and rhubarb that went home with people I may never see again? I'm just trusting that they'll settle in to some healthy living soil, continue to feel sunshine as the days lengthen to summer, and be admired and nurtured as much as they have been this spring. If they get half the love I hope they do, they'll produce aplenty for all their new caretakers.