Apres Mardi, Le Deluge
Tsunami Warnings Have Been Issued
As quiet as it has been around O'Toole's Greenhouse, thanks to the weather, it's difficult to imagine what we're in for as we roll through this week toward Mother's Day, the unofficial first day to plant in Littleton (Zone 5a).
Patti at the front desk said that, starting Tuesday, we won't be able to move through the store, the crowds will be thicker than a Christmas rush, the lines longer than a Star Wars opening, and everyone wearing a green apron will be hit with endless questions and cries for help.
Two of last year's crew apparently were overcome by the crush, lost in the madness and later found huddling under tomato tables, mewling and puking, in mid-July.
THE STOCK HAS EXPLODED
Over the past few weeks, it has been a constant parade of deliveries, new stock coming in constantly, everything from tomatoes to kohlrabi in vegetables (I'm still not quite sure what kohlrabi is, but I do know we've got it), to pansies, peonies and petunias by the score in flowers, and everything from lemon grass to cat grass to periwinkle everywhere else. Henry Fonda roses, too! (Do you know that they're the only rose to hold its yellow color over time in Colorado?)
Some of the early stuff, which has been in for a few weeks, is well grown now, twice or thrice trimmed, and now ready to leave for home and planting in the sunshine, followed by growth, production, college and a lifetime of debt.
Everything is ready to be planted, but at the moment, thanks to the weather, is moving off the shelves very slowly.
THE EARLY CROWDS HAVE BEEN SPARSE
Right through yesterday (Saturday, 4/30), the buyers have been steady, but crowds have been small. They've had their choice of EVERYTHING, as everything is still available: all the different sorts of tomatoes and peppers and flowers and perennials, basil, sage, carrots, celery, beetroot, onion sets, nasturtium, cabbage, potatoes and chives. (I'm in vegetables. I know the vegetable rows. Peonies are not my station. They're over there, somewhere. What else can I say?)
The weather has, in some ways, helped these folks. The cold rain and snow mix over the weekends has kept most people from buying everything they can in order to set out their gardens by Mother's Day.
Those who have bought early, those willing to give up a section of their garage or kitchen table for plant storage, truly have had the best choice, but there is SO much on hand (all of which I think I've moved 8-12 times), that I can't imagine even the largest crowds not being able to find exactly what they are looking for.
I've never seen so many varieties of tomatoes in my life. Heinz is a piker with only 57.
Stock Is Piled High Above My Head (Which is, In Reality, Not that Hard to Do)
All this said, the weather is supposed to moderate on Monday, then warm on Tuesday. Mother's Day is next Sunday.
For all intents and purposes, I've come to realize, my training ended Saturday. Three weeks on the job and according to everyone and anyone, on Tuesday, the sunshine will bring out the crowds, first in a gentle wave, then, in a crashing tsunami. Next weekend will be madness personified.
I hope the rest of the staff is right.
Buy up those tomatoes, folks.
I do not want to move them again.
As for our garden, most of the seedlings have been repotted, the hardier species have been planted (the garlic is going gangbusters), despite the rain, snow and cold, while everything else awaits the first warm days when we can get out there and start planting Mr. Bitterman's Garden - 2016. I'll wait for Becky to help plant the main gardens, as Mr. Bitterman and Furious George Fenneman tend to ignore me in order to help her, but I certainly can't blame them. She does, after all, smell much better than me.
I just want to get started.
Come on, God! Enough with the snow! (That should be enough to guarantee a blizzard during the first week of June. You're welcome.)
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