At the starting post, they all look like winners. Sleekly curved, bays and browns, full of vigor and mystery.
Into the potting soil they go. The soil is brushed across to cover them, water is dispensed, they are tented with Ziploc and set on the seedling mat. The seedling mat is plugged in.
And then I wait.
Every day I check them – day one, two, three, four – nothing.
And then, a glimmer of hope as one of the contenders begins to stretch out its neck. Listada De Gandia Eggplant. The crowd goes wild!
Once one of them steps up the pace, it seems the race is on. It’s Listada De Gandia by a swan’s neck curve, and then it’s Beefsteak Tomato. Beefsteak Tomato is up. Listada number two is pushing up behind them, and then Beefsteak is the first to stand up straight and tall like an arrow. Then Listada. Then Listada number two. Then Beefsteak number two. But wait a minute, who’s that hurrying up behind them? It’s Jalepeno From Last Year’s Seed! Jalepeno From Last Year’s Seed is still in the race! The crowd roars!
Before I can even catch my breath, Jalepeno From Last Year’s Seed Number Two is up, then Jalepeno From Last Year’s Seed Number Three. Listada Number One spreads its first two slim leaves. Now there’s seven Listadas, three Beefsteak Tomatoes, and five Jalepenos From Last Year’s Seed.
Jalepenos From Packet is still at the starting gate.
Ladies and Gentlemen, please step to the window to place your bets for the next race. The contenders:
- Bush Baby Zucchini
- Eden Gem Muskmelon
- Watermelon From Last Year’s Seed
- Diamant Cucumber
- Roxton Hybrid Leeks
- Bulgarian Carrot Hot Pepper
- Organic Redventure Celery
- Sweet Carmen Pepper
- Nova Tomato
- And the favored winner, 10-1: Taxi Tomato
Hurry! Place your bets! It’s going to be a heck of a race!