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Two more tomato plants for the garden from the farmer’s market: Black Krim and Yellow Pear, the latter placed at the corner for the best access for small hands and short arms. They’re big beautiful plants, which my seedlings were not, but now that they’re all in the ground the difference is rapidly disappearing. I love it when nature makes up for my mistakes.

Chloe and I went into the garden yesterday to eat a blueberry popsicle. Well, we went outside to eat the popsicle; we went to the garden to “tee if any tawberried are twipe” (she has yet to master Ss). The slugs have been industrious and I haven’t replaced my Sluggo yet, so she’s been disappointed in a couple of ripe berries and was willing to try anything that looked even a little bit red. It turns out that half-ripe garden strawberries are slightly tart but still full of tangy flavor.

The pea trellis is crawling with life, so we tried a few peas, too. She loved these. She likes peas to begin with, and will eat frozen peas and corn for lunch (sometimes heated up, sometimes still frozen), but these were clearly a different experience. She delighted in receiving the two halves of the pod I split open for her–”like a butterfly” and picking out the peas, one by one. She gave me slightly less than half, which I thought was pretty generous.

We’ve got a few corn stalks coming up, which she also wanted to eat until I told her they weren’t the same as the corn on the cob we’ve had a couple of nights in the past couple of weeks. (Can’t she tell the difference? When I point out the seedling that look like a fatter grass, and is quite clearly not a plump cob full of sweet kernels? Toddlers are strange.) The squash and peppers and eggplant are doing okay, for now at least. I’ve got a bunch of what looks like cucumber volunteers coming up among the tomatoes. I don’t know what they’re from. Compost, I guess. What cucumbers did I grow two years ago? Do I want to keep them? I have a hard time pulling them out, when you buy them for $2 each at the local nursery, but they can’t stay and crowd my tomatoes, either. I moved one to a better spot and we’ll see how it grows.

I’ve also got some volunteer dill among the weeds that are slated for later slaughter, and some Hopi Red Dye amaranth. I love that that’s still popping up here and there. Also some tomato volunteers in the side garden, but they’re getting pulled out when I get a chance because as I recall they were awful in previous years.

And the beans and greens and carrots and roots are growing well–as are the weeds, but let’s ignore that for now–and I’m pleased with what I’ve wrought so far, even if I fear for the summer. And staying out late in the garden picking half-ripe strawberries and half-grown peas for my girl was just what I felt that garden is for.

Tomatoes are in. It’s a little early, but the forecast looks good and they’ve grown as much as they’re going to in the little seed-starting tray (and I’ve faced the fact I’m not going to pot them up). They’re small, but I have hopes.

Chloë helped me plant them. We did transplant the garlic and plant a bunch of roots and greens; I thought I’d written about that but evidently not. And we’ve been going out for some extremely minor weeding, though sickness and a tricycle have prevented us from doing much lately besides. She has a great time digging around with the little spade she got for Easter, and continually asks me to dig for worms. When I find one, she accepts it in her hand with delight and coos at it for about three seconds. Then she puts it carefully down in the hole and asks me to find another one. I’m glad she treats them well but it doesn’t leave me a lot of time to do my actual digging.

But we put up posts and I dug nine holes for the nine tomatoes I’d originally started, forgetting that two didn’t come up (my trades, darn it). I put some compost in each hole and planted the tomatoes carefully, burying them deep to encourage root growth. “I want to bury a pot,” Chloë announced, so I gave her one of the ones that didn’t come up and helped her make a little hole for it. The tomatoes I planted, winding around starting from the top right: Amish Paste, Arkansas Traveller, Brown Berry, Italian Market Wonder, Jelly Bean, Persimmon, Tiger-Like. (Why yes, that’s alphabetical order. I didn’t write it down, except here just now, so I had to have some way of remembering for later in the season. My flags are already faded.) I’ll buy two more at the farmer’s market next week to fill up the empty holes. Also some sweet peppers; the only ones of mine that came up are hots.

We got called in for dinner at Jelly Bean, so I didn’t get to plant squash or put dry beans around the poles or water. It was supposed to rain and I was hungry, so I trusted to luck. “I hope it rains,” I told Chloë as we went in. “That way the tomatoes will get water.”

This morning it was thunderstorming. “It’s raining!” Chloë announced, running to the window to watch the downpour. “The rain will be good for our plants to grow!”

Flowers and even fruit are only the beginning. In the seed lies the life and the future.

Marion Zimmer Bradley

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