Springing Forward with Free Tomatoes!

 Free Early Girl Tomatoes had us up early and off to Star Nursery on Saturday morning.

Free Early Girl Tomatoes had us up early and off to Star Nursery on Saturday morning.

As we sped along I-515 on our way across town the other morning, I caught sight of a billboard sign out of the corner of my eye. ‘Star Nursery … We’ve gone totally tomatoes. March 10th – free tomato plants’. Perhaps, I read that wrong … reading billboards while driving along at 65 mph sometimes plays tricks on your eyes. We’ve been fooled in the past by “Free Beer Tomorrow” signs … when tomorrow never comes. I got home and checked out their website. Sure enough … ‘free 4” Early Girl tomato plants on March 10th while supplies last’. They had me at free tomatoes and March 10th … Early Girls were a bonus!

We did our usual golf course walk at 0600 and were back the house for a quick coffee before rounding up Paul and then trying to rouse Mary who was not the least bit interested on a Saturday morning. We didn’t have to travel far … only about a mile down Boulder Highway to our local Star Nursery. We were in luck … they still had tomato plants when we arrived (lots of them) and we each collected one. I also spotted a garden urn that would look great on the new deck. Tomato plants, free! Urn … not so much. Star Nursery’s marketing loss-leader plan evidently worked.

 Remnants of last year's garden ... pansies, parsley and a weathered gnome.

Remnants of last year's garden ... pansies, parsley and a weathered gnome.

David and Paul had built a rather elaborate raised planter last year complete with a drip-watering system. Mary had planted several tomato and pepper plants and lots of herbs last season which had all done pretty well. Mary's weathered gnome stood sentry in the corner overseeing parsley, chives and some errant purple pansies that still thriving after a very mild desert winter. Spring comes early in the Mojave Desert.

 Spring comes early in the Mojave Desert. We're planting tomatoes already.

Spring comes early in the Mojave Desert. We're planting tomatoes already.

While the boys were working on the deck, I planted our three Early Girls, gave them a little food, water and a pep talk. Good news! Though we lost an hour over the weekend, in just 55 days from now … that’s early April … I’ll be expecting our first crop of ripe, red, juicy tomatoes.

 Photo credit: Sharla Shults

Photo credit: Sharla Shults

 

Even better news? They’re giving away free ladybugs on April 7th! Life is good!