Who qualifies as an optimist? Vegetable gardeners for one. KUNC’s own eternal optimist, gardener Tom Throgomorton, has more.
The basic concept of vegetable gardening is to put a tiny seed, like as basil seed or even a tomato seed, in the soil, then to water it and expect in a few weeks to eat something that seed produces. That’s optimism.
There is a large garden in our neighborhood. It’s at least one-hundred feet square. Last year the tomatoes had a lot of green fruit and the corn was tasseling. In less than thirty minutes, a hail storm stripped everything. The tomatoes were mush on the ground and the corn was leafless stalks.
This year the same garden is re-planted. Rows of tomatoes, some rows of cabbage and I’m sure the corn will pop up any day. The time and energy to plant a crop and then watch it get ruined and then to expend the same energy for a new crop the next year. That’s optimism.
I do notice that there are some added hail precautions being added to the garden. The tomatoes are caged and covered with chicken wire. The plan being the chicken wire will break some of the hail before it damages the plant or fruit.
It isn’t too late to become an optimist this season. A lot of veggies can still be planted. It is too late to start from seed cool season crops like cabbage. But cabbage family plants can be transplanted. The plants will develop quickly and produce before it gets too hot.
It’s also too late for salad greens like lettuce, arugula and matche. They like it cool. But the salad greens can be re-planted in August for a fall harvest.
Warm season plants, like tomatoes, eggplant and peppers have plenty of time to grow and produce. We grow our peppers in black nursery containers. The containers heat up the soil and peppers love that.
The cucumber and squash seeds we planted are taking their time sprouting. We’re planting some of the same plants that were started in the greenhouse. We know the transplant will grow with a little care. If the seeds do sprout we may have too many plants. But we’ll deal with that problem if it happens.
Maybe it’s the fresh flavor that makes vegetable gardeners such optimists.