Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Random plant event: Lycopersicon esculentum

On Sunday morning when I came home from walking Sheba, I found these at the back door.

What we have is thirteen tagged, ziplocked tomato seedlings, which is already pretty impressive, but then also there was a separate ziplock baggie containing xeroxes of six seed packages, so I know that I have Cherokee Purple, Mortgage Lifter (Halladay's), Tommy Toe, Green Grape, Eva Purple Ball, and German Pink tomatoes.

I'm pretty sure these came from one of the other plant nuts in town,1 Cathie, who has her own blog, and who I gave some plants to about three weeks ago (sold some, just gave others). She found PATSP, she says, because she was looking for information about some plant or another, and discovered that we lived in the same town, and naturally we wound up talking.

I've also met a couple other plant people in town; the local flower shop and I have sold one another various things. I met a couple about a block away when I noticed a bunch of pots and flats in their garbage, too. Went up to the house with Sheba and asked if they were throwing the pots and stuff out, and whether they'd mind if I just took them instead. Not only did they not mind, but they opened the garage to give me a bunch more.2

So I'm kind of remembering what it's like to live in a small town, I guess. I grew up in a really tiny place (~150 people), where asking for someone's garbage . . . well, actually I don't recall anybody ever asking for someone else's garbage. I don't even remember seeing anybody else's garbage: everybody burned it in the back yard or drove it to the dump. But if somebody had wanted someone else's garbage, it probably would have been fine. And as for sneaking around people's homes to leave them tomato plants, well, I actually did do that, kinda. My main childhood memory of lilacs (Syringa vulgaris) is of going along with my mother when I was maybe four or five years old, to sneak into a neighbor's house and leave a giant vase full of lilacs on their table. I don't remember who it was, or why, but this sort of thing happened, then.

Horrible, horrible things happened there too, no doubt. I mean, it's not like it was paradise on earth. I'm just saying that although we both sort of miss Iowa City sometimes, living in a small town has a lot to recommend it as well. It's dark enough at night to see the stars. We don't wake up at 2 AM because a drunk college student is screaming "I'M TWENTY-ONE!!!! I'M TWENTY-ONE!!!!" outside of our bedroom window over and over for fifteen minutes.3 There's enough space to keep a dog. Sometimes tomato plants appear out of nowhere. This isn't so bad.


1 (Judging by the gardens I see, walking Sheba, there are several, though it's harder to tell when it comes to houseplants.)
2 Also: I keep meaning to take a picture of their backyard tomato garden for y'all; it kind of radiates competence.
3 And then she struggled up the incline up to our building, laid on the grass, and then rolled down the hill to the sidewalk. Followed, if memory serves, by more shouting of her age. It didn't seem, at the time, like she was telling anybody in particular -- like, it wasn't that there was someone in our building who needed to know she was twenty-one. It seemed more like she just wanted the whole world to know, and our building was where her legs stopped carrying her forward, so she just kept telling us.


Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

That's great, Mr. S. Looks like you have some really nice neighbours.

Lance said...

Footnote 1 - without being accused of peeping tom-ishness. Not sure I could live in that small of a town, but I do think I'd like to live in a smaller town. Makes it a bit easier to have a husband though I'm sure.

Martin said...

My daughters volunteer at the SPCA. The shelter is a haven to British expats who want to run things. Malta asked the British to stop literally running the country in the 60s and they were quite obliging. Anyway, May an June is a very productive time for plants here and other members have been giving my kids lemons and beans and also an experimental assortment of tomatoes. I love it :)

There was one clear skinned yellow tomato that had almost no acidity at all. Anybody know why someone would want a tomato like that?

Joseph said...

I think the correct name is currently Solanum lycopersicon. I think. It is hard to keep up with those goofy, name-switching taxonomists.

mr_subjunctive said...


It probably is Solanum. But I'm going to give them a couple years so they can decide that they're sure before I start using it. Fool me once, shame on you, etc.

cconz said...

I'm not the plant fairy, So there is another one in town. We just got back from D.C. and it more than ever... makes me so happy that i live in a small town. If you need pots and flats , i have some you can have.

mr_subjunctive said...


But if it's not you, then we have no idea who it is. We can only think of three people who would make any kind of sense at all, and none of them seem especially likely.

Also, if it's not you, then the husband finds this whole sneaking-around-behind-people's-houses thing a little creepy.


Ivynettle said...

Hm. Maybe I should just leave my last tomato plant at someone's back door? ;)

Lance said...

Next time I repot the aloe vera I could leave the babies on random doorsteps around town.

Of course - you're not quite random, so that is a bit creepy.

Unknown said...

I live in a rather large city (Portland, OR) but our neighborhood is quite friendly. We talk to one another, and share things all of the time. I even have met gardeners randomly simply by walking around, or else strangers walk by and ask for a tour.

Plants left at the back of the house is an interesting prospect. I will have to think about who I can do that to now. Hope you figure out who your plant fairy is!