A nursery grower friend texted me last week over an ethical dilemma. Should she sell her precious, seed-raised specialty tomatoes (and assorted tender darlings) to customers that promised faithfully not to plant them for at least another five weeks?
“They want them.” she agonized. “They say they are going to care for them…but five weeks?”
She knows what can happen to a strong, greenhouse raised tomato relegated to a kitchen window. She knows how strength will be sapped from the plant, willpower stripped from the gardener, and how within two weeks of warm inside temperatures, the poor thing will find itself in cold ground, covered by a makeshift cloche. In expert hands, there is hope. In average hands, not so much.
Yet her nursery is open. Her growing houses are bursting and stock must be moved into retail houses prowled by spring-happy consumers. Cash in hand, they are not satiated by new lines in patio furniture or a flat of pansies. They want those tomatoes and peppers. They want summer before spring is underway.
‘Tis the Season
Her concern, both for customer and plant, was admirable, and I reminded her that no such dilemma lingered in the minds of big-box marketers who have made it almost impossible for the customer to get past racks of tender vegetables in order to grab a dormant fruit tree.