Perhaps last year’s tomatoes have forgiven us after all.
The Grand had no sooner finished planting his raised bed, when we noticed a plucky volunteer growing just outside of the box.
He helped me mark it with a stake, so that we wouldn’t accidentally crush it under foot or bulldoze it with his favorite gardening implement.
We stood back, quietly admiring our handiwork.
But as with any proper seven-year-old, silence merely flags a stellar opportunity to befuddle the grown-ups who love you.
“Grandma, where do tomatoes come from?”
I’m barely fluent in the basics of plant procreation. Pistils. Stamens. Bees. Pollination.
Beyond that, I drive to my favorite nursery where I stroll nonchalantly up and down the aisles as though I’m a renaissance expert on all things plant. Thankfully, they don’t ask for any further credentials than a valid debit or credit card, especially if you’re clutching a thumb-worn Western Garden like a shield against helpful, knowledgeable clerks.
I’d stalled a few seconds too long. I desperately wanted to answer, “Tomatoes? Oh, they come from the garden center.” But from what I understand, fictions or evasions about the birds and the bees only beg trouble later.
“Seeds. Tomatoes come from seeds.”
I tried to sound confident, secretly hoping he wouldn’t call my bluff. Because if he asked me where seeds came from, I’d be in way, way over my head. If only I’d paid more attention in biology…
He rolled his eyes a bit when I tried to pad my answer with a lame reference to his favorite side dish of sliced tomatoes.
“Oh,” he said. And he abruptly went back to crash-driving his bulldozer.
I dabbed beads of sweat from my forehead. Maybe this hobby gardener had a wee bit more time to build a trellis of quick reference facts for the future.