An English In Kentucky


















January 1st 2010

    Weak sunshine after last night's blue moon and the word 'Arctic' in the weather forecast.  

    Yet this is the time to put serious consideration into collecting seeds from catalogue companies.   And these days I suspect, haste is recommended, because last year, due to a general inclination toward an idea of imminent doom, collecting seeds from catalogue companies became even more fashionable.   For a long time catalogues have increasingly entwined themselves with a world view that comprehends the vegetable garden as a place of adjectival superlative, but last year there was an increase in the ultimate superlative of 'sold out', conjoined with the quite sensible notion of survival by vegetable.

    But I should admire the vigor with which imagination impinges upon reality, rather than refuse utterly to consider the seed of a plant made suspicious by explicit flattery.   I remember when I first heard the name 'Desiree', an early keeping potato with pink skin and good flavor.   My eye cringed at the name, and I flew at the subjective idea of  'good flavor'.   But in those days 'good flavor' was almost a superlative in the dour world of gardens supplied by a seed merchant.

    'Yep,' he'd say, 'I like them.'  And generally from a man with mud on his boots, that was enough.  But these days 'good flavor' probably means 'indeterminate to fairly disgusting'.  So I have learned to tread warily, travel first to the familiar, before permitting the eye to peep at other things




Last year we ran out of seeds from a packet of Roma that had kept us in healthy Roma plants for several years.   The choice of reordering this particular variety was made redundant by my having obliterated the tomato's given name by using duct tape to seal the packet.   I finally surrendered to 'sold out' and I went to the giant hardware store in town.    There I found something which described itself as 'authentic'.  I found something that had the word 'galore' in its description.  And I found Roma VF, "a premium canner, ideal for sauce and paste!"

     And indeed Roma VF was a bright and charming character, but through out his year I found myself wondering whether he was as 'galore' as he might have been.  And the VF attached to his name always made me suspicious of his authenticity.



Previous     Next