January 1st 2010
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
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
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