We recently flew to Florida for a working vacation. When I put my large suitcase on the scales, it weighed in at sixty-one pounds.
“Either lighten the load or pay $90,” the airline agent said.
My husband went for the zipper of my suitcase. He pulled out four ping-pong paddles.
“Why are you taking those?” I asked.
“Because there’s a ping-pong table at the conference, but they have lousy paddles,” he said. He put the paddles in his briefcase — work-related materials. He lost at ping-pong last year when he played with a colleague, and for an entire year, blamed it on the hotel’s paddles.
Next, he pulled out a bulky plastic bag I hadn’t packed.
“My golf shoes wouldn’t fit in my suitcase,” he said. Those he squeezed into my briefcase. Another work-related item because his boss asked him to play golf. “You can rent clubs, but not shoes,” he told me as the scales announced we’d removed six pounds.
“Got to get rid of a few more things,” the agent said as I wondered how I’d manage to haul my now bulging briefcase.
My husband wasn’t finished. He pulled out a Tupperware container filled with packages of seeds and folded paper towels. Then he fished around some more and found Lleweylln’s 2013 Moon Sign Book, which contains a gardening guide for “conscious living by the cycles of the moon.”
“I need to start tomato seeds while we’re gone,” he said.
Even while traveling, the garden manages to come with us.
During the second quarter of February’s moon on February 22, 2013, my husband went into the bathroom of our hotel room and layered damp paper towel sheets (the thinnest and cheapest kind of paper towel — that’s why he travels with them) over sprinklings of tomato seeds.
He usually starts them closer to March 1, but he believes in following the cycle of the moon for all phases of the planting stage, and this year that occurred in the third week of February. Who’s to argue with him? He’s been gardening for forty years with great success.
“I like to start fruits with seeds during the second quarter,” he told me. “I’ll start some more during March’s second quarter so they’re not all coming in at once.”
The Moon Sign Book quotes Lao Tzu for the week of February 17-23: “He who knows others is wise; he who knows himself is enlightened.” My husband knows himself, as well as knowing all he grows.
I remained in Florida when he flew to Denver for another conference. Guess what he took with him? That’s right, the container with tomato seeds beginning to sprout. A few days ago, he flew home to Pittsburgh where the container now rests in our bedroom on a dresser.
Maybe we can enter this year’s crop of tomatoes in the “Most Traveled Vegetable Seed” contest, if there is one. Let’s hope the tomatoes win because the golf and ping-pong matches didn’t fare so well, despite my husband’s best smuggling efforts, using my suitcase.
The seedlings went into small pots on March 2 and sit under grow lights along with onions, parsley, and lettuce.
Soon he’ll start spinach seeds. They only take three weeks to a month before they’re ready to go into the ground. He likes to start those seeds during the first quarter, which begins March 11. Again, he’ll start them in batches so we have spinach until the summer heat makes them bolt. I love having extra spinach to freeze (see my post on preserving spinach). We’re still eating it once a week and have enough to last until we can eat it fresh again.
That’s the gardening news from western Pennsylvania. What’s going on with your garden right now?