Seedlings bracing for the cold

Tonight, there is a pink sheet and a beige sheet covering the fledgling plants in my garden. I've slowly been transferring the tomato and squash  seedlings to a patch of ground out behind my house. The weather forecast is for frost and I don't want all of my work to go to waste.

My kitchen table is occupied with eggplant seedlings that finally graduated from starter tray to container this afternoon. I have completed the first round of my garden.

The end of that transition was celebrated yesterday afternoon when Katie made me a cappicola and tomato sandwich with my basil from my own garden. I harvested about ten pieces, and none of the plants seem worse for the experience.

Gardening appears to be the running of 2010. Last year, I transformed myself by learning how to run, and I'm still learning what I need to do to get better.

This year, I'm enjoying the challenge of exploring solitude by paying close attention to little creatures that I chose to bring into the world by preparing places for seeds to sprout. For the past six weeks, I've been captivated by the seedlings I first planted on my kitchen table, but have slowly moved outside.

I will confess at the top. I have no idea what I'm doing. So far, most of the peppers I've tried to transplant outside have met with a sad, sad fate. They had looked so healthy in little containers I'd purchased.

And tonight, I am hopeful that I've at least given the tomatoes some chance at survival by creating a little fort for them. In a bit, I have to go figure out what I'm going to do for the four squash plants that are still alive. Of course, one of those is hanging on a thread.

The ones in my living room are perfectly happy, of course.

What I'm finding is a real interest in how plants grow. How do they work? What's going on that makes these delicate creatures thrive if given the right environment? Why am I risking sneezes to delve into the garden with such aplomb, despite the pollen that pervades near everything?

Similar to running, gardening is about preparing for another day. Despite having partaken of the basil, there's a lot of nurturing that has to take place before I can have a meal with the fruit of my labor.

But that's not the point.

The point is to simply enjoy my life. Until now, I have despised yard work. Now I'm looking around wondering how I can make my garden look good, and be somewhat functional.

My second round of seeds shall include lettuce, cilantro, chives and cucumber. I don't know if any of this will come to pass. But, I am truly enjoying the glory of this earth by spending several hours a week trying to transform soil, light and water into green shoots of beauty and majesty. Another hobby that reminds me of how absolutely fantastic it is to be alive.

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