A Farm-Filled Weekend

Well not exactly, but close for a city girl! Saturday morning started off with a trip to the farmer’s market – oh, how I love the summer routines. I got there early this time, so I got the pick of the choice stuff – I came away with some mesclun mix, arugula, lambs quarter (aka wild spinach – a slightly bitter salad green), green onions, brown button mushrooms, hamburger patties, Rose Finn fingerling potatoes and a bouquet of red and white Artemisia. And all for about $30! I enjoyed strolling around the market, and it was a bit calmer this week so I got to chat a bit with some of the farmers and listen to some acoustic musicians.

Later Saturday, the family came into town for lunch and a visit to Gethsemane Gardens, our local greenhouse/nursery. I bought four thyme plants – common, creeping, English and lemon. I also picked up some plastic pot saucers for the plastic pots I’ve got for the tomatoes, and we found a fantastic dark red glazed clay pot with a braided detail around the rim and base – that was only $18! We enjoyed strolling around with the family – beautiful garden statuary to wonder and wish over, rows and rows of bedding flowers, and exotic trees in the greenhouse like fig, olive, and lemons and limes. The koi pond and bonsai trees in the corner of the greenhouse are also great to investigate as well. I only wish I could keep bonsai alive… Saturday night after the family had gone and we’d had dinner, I cleaned and sanitized the plastic pots in anticipation of a morning of transplanting on Sunday.

Which is just what I did this morning after brunch (scrambled eggs, bacon, leftover coffee cake and hot tea). I started by transplanting the tomatoes from their mini green house in the kitchen window into four medium sized plastic terra cotta-looking pots. One plant per pot, so I have a total of four. I planted six, so I choose the healthiest four and let the other two go. Hopefully they rebound and start to grow like crazy – I should’ve potted up a week or two ago because they’d started to get a little root bound in their tiny homes. After the tomatoes were settled in I tackled the strawberry pot. While we were on vacation, the poor rosemary finally succumbed – it thrived on neglect, but not our absence apparently. I think it died because it missed us, because it’s gone much longer without being watered when we were home… but alas, that can’t be helped. I tried to revive it but the poor thing was just too far gone. So I decided to do the pot entirely in thymes, which is my favorite herb anyway. The common and English thyme went in the lower wells on the side, and I divided the creeping thyme, which came in a slightly larger container than all the others, and put one division on each side in the upper wells. The lemon thyme has the privilege of living in the top. The root balls were huge, so it was a challenge to get them settled in, but I think they’re the right size for the pot and once they get over the shock of being rough handled in, I think they’ll do well. The final task was replanting the bay tree, which I was highly nervous about, having never transplanted a tree (albeit a tiny one) in my life. But there’s a first time for everything. It’s new home of honor is the red glazed pot we bought. Getting it out of the tin pail it was planted in was tough – trees have tenacious roots, and they had started to circle around and grow around the perimeter since the pot was no longer deep enough. Once I got it out (and it took me nearly five minutes) I was worried that I had done some damage, because the soil didn’t really stay attached to the root system in a ball. But the roots looked healthy, and the tree certainly does (as it’s putting out new leaves and starting to branch) so I arranged the roots over a ball of soil in the new pot and carefully packed more dirt in. I gave it a good water and put it in the window, and so far it looks like it’s doing alright. I always get nervous transplanting – I get very attached to them and there’s always a risk you’ll lose them due to transplant shock.

I rearranged the living room a bit (maybe counter-intuitive since we’re planning to move in 6 weeks) but I wanted to give the plants the best advantage. So now I have the trunks stacked up in front of the window, and the window is just crowded with plants – the four tomato plants, the parsley, the bay tree, the strawberry pot of thyme, the lemon verbena and the red kalanchoe. I decided to let the lettuce that I started from seed go – it was looking pretty lethargic and I can get all I want at the farmer’s market now. And that will be a few less pots to move. All in all, good food and good plants – not a bad way to spend a good half of the weekend.


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