I met (the man I wish was) the love of my life one warm afternoon at a farm stand on a lazy, meandering drive through the countryside. There he was. He was tall, strikingly handsome, had an amazing smile, and (unfortunately for me) was still head over heels in love with his wife after 56 years of marriage. Even though he broke my heart, I got a pretty tasty shoo-fly pie and some great gardening advice as consolation prizes.
I was admiring his beautiful trays of tomato starts and told him that, even after living in Baltimore a few years, I was still having trouble judging when it was the right time to plant them. Everyone in my neighborhood always made it an elaborate Mother’s Day ritual, but that seemed unnaturally late to me, a California girl. He laughed and, judging me worthy, leaned in close and whispered his secret:
“The best way to tell when to plant tomatoes is to go outside, drop your pants, and sit bare-assed in the dirt for a good while. Don’t rush it. Enjoy the sun and listen for bees humming. If things feel cold and clammy, then it’s too early. When the ground feels warm and nice on your tender parts, then it’s OK to go ahead and plant your tomatoes.”
—By Marci Weidemiller of Venice, FL.