All around the northern hemisphere gardeners are taking over their homes with pots and trays of seedlings, there’s Karen over at Back Road Journal whose beautiful bathroom temporarily housed her tomatoes, Celi at The Kitchens Garden as part of hardening the tomato plants off brings them indoors into the bedroom, while Marie at My Little Corner Of Rhode Island has her basement plant room lit up like Blackpool Illuminations to get a head start on the growing season.
At best you can say we are an imaginative lot and at worst that you need an understanding partner or family.
Me? Every year the upstairs sitting room is taken over, plus every south-facing windowsill in the house is pressed into use. And then as the seeds germinate the shuffle starts, my chilies, peppers and tomatoes have already had an early shuffle around my home town as neighbours took my precious early seedlings in. They have all returned home to roost, are potted on into larger pots and are soaking up the few rays that this weeks weather has given us.
The first new lesson I’ve learnt this growing season is that Tomatoes don’t like to SHARE ! In the rush that was March I lazily potted the tomatoes on into larger pots but literally shoved 2 teeny plants into each pot, MISTAKE. Tomatoes don’t like to share, they get crowded out and start reaching for the skies instead of bulking up. They were sulking. Yes it’s true Tomato plants can sulk. Oh well, they are now all separated out and potted on and they are starting to smile again.
But what is this about seedlings on a higher plain? No not an aircraft but a simple orange cloth. To protect the oak table I cover it every year with a piece of cloth. Not just any cloth mind you, a piece of fabric I picked up another lifetime ago in Sri Lanka.
It was a wonderous holiday travelling by train along the coast from Colombo down to the beaches in the south and later heading up on another train that twisted, turned and chuffed and puffed and climbed up through the mountains and tea estates from Nuwara Eliya to Kandy. Sitting in the guards van, our legs hanging out of the carriage door, watching the rush of green passing by, waving to kids, snacking on oranges. I honestly felt like a character out of a classic American novel riding the rails. Arriving dusty and dirty to discover a beautiful town set around a lake where at dusk colonies of bats would fly and flutter between the trees. And in the morning visiting the Temple of the Tooth., then wandering around the side streets and stumbling across a tiny shop that sold wares for Buddhist Monks – from bowls and bags to robes. The hues of Saffron Yellow, Burnt Orange and Deep Reds firmly impressed in my memory and now on my table.
So maybe these seedlings are on a higher plain, let’s face it probably not! But every year when I set the room up I’m transported back to my first taste of Asia. Lets hope these seedlings come summer will be robust healthy plants that will transport my taste buds to earthly and heavenly delights.
And to continue the Sri Lankan theme, why not sample a classic Sri Lankan Curry - a beautiful creamy coconut pumpkin curry and bizarrely my most searched for recipe, the most “popular” page. Strange isn’t it what comes and goes around?