I am in the garden center, trying not to be an asshole.
To be clear: the garden center is one of my happy places. I love just about everything that has anything to do with flora (except, perhaps, the fauna who eat them).
But here's the thing: it is mid-May, mid-colder-than-average May; and it is not in anyone's best interest to be planting mid-July-sized tomato plants:
Mid-May in Boston, tomatoes should not have blossoms. In fact, nighttime temperatures are still in the 40's this week; these tomatoes shouldn't even be planted out yet. These peppers are also WAY too big for this season in this place:
I am watching people buying these tomatoes and peppers, and I know what will happen. They will go home and plant them outside, delighted at first with the size and promise of these plants. Then the nighttime temps will plummet for a few days and the plants will get cranky. Plus these plants are oversized for transplanting and that will make them even crankier when the temps drop.
Heartbreak will ensue. Sorrow and woe. I see it all clearly. But I say nothing. Because spouting off about such things would make me an asshole.
Here's another way in which I am not being an asshole: I am not telling people not to buy these foxgloves:
But they shouldn't buy them! I adore foxgloves; I myself just planted a whole bunch of them, first-year seedlings, in slightly acidic soil in part shade. But these garden center foxgloves are already in full bloom (normally an event that would occur a month or so later in the season), and thus putting on their best show now, before they're even transplanted. Foxgloves are biennial, blooming in their second year. So for the foxgloves in this picture, this is it, the big show. Now they bloom. Next year they'll be dead. The hapless garden center customers will take these plants home, lovingly tuck them into a garden bed, and it will all be downhill from here. Heartbreak is sure to follow. Sorrow and woe.
But I stop myself from saying anything about it. Because I am trying not be an asshole.
And just look at these full, green basil seedlings, apparently thriving! I am watching people scoop them up by the cartload.
There are two big problems here. First, these pots are crowded with multiple seedlings. Basil, like most plants, needs space: you want one seedling in a square foot area. These pots include six jam-packed plants; they may not die, but they will never get as full and healthy as a single-stemmed seedling:
Here are mine, grown these from seed, one stem per cell. (And yes, I realize that bragging about my home-grown seedlings rather makes me an asshole. Which I am trying not to be.)
The second problem is that it is WAY too soon to be putting basil out of doors all night. Basil likes to be coddled; these plants will sulk terribly when the temps hit the 40's on a handful of nights this week. Heartbreak is sure to follow. Sorrow and woe. But I am not saying anything. Because of that thing I am trying not to be.
Here's another thing that makes my tongue hurt from all the biting: watching people buy zucchini seedlings.
DON'T BUY ZUCCHINI SEEDLINGS! You can get plants this big in a week by just sticking a couple of seeds in the ground and keeping them moderately moist. Plus the direct-seeded plants will be much stronger without the trauma of the transplant. Zuke, cuke, bean and nasturtium seedlings are a waste of money.
I am not saying a word about any of this. Because...you know why.
But it is exhausting, this business of keeping my opinions to myself! I need a break. So I think I will go to the supermarket and give people unsolicited advice on how to dress their children.