Our first project of the day: planting two varieties of heirloom tomatoes, creme brulee and pineapple.
Before beginning at Side by Side (before yesterday, in other words) I would say I only knew the very basics of planting - and I usually killed most things I planted. Aesthetically, I adore nature; I take walks specifically so that can peek at neighbors' gardens, at the field on the edge of town, at trees catching evening light. I have books on flower folklore and am glad that I know what little I do about plant varieties. I go out into my grandfather's garden and snip his herbs to use for supper. But that wasn't enough. I want to have a good understanding of and interaction with this planet's ecological systems. Not just for this summer but for the whole rest of my life.
So today I got a lesson in tomatoes and tomato planting. You could plant them upside down, Devin said, and they'd still survive. We didn't do that, however - we put them right side up, deep in a hole that had the bottom broken up and a little bit of what he called "agri-knight" (which included crushed mollusk shells and kelp) sprinkled in it. Then the dirt was packed down and well watered. Sporadically throughout the rows - these tomatoes had peppers and lettuce as their neighbors - we planted borage. Devin says things like that - like putting in plants with acknowledgement to how other plants will shade them, with how water moves - make all the difference.