While we’re on the topic of seedlings, and since it’s once again spring and planting time, here’s a photo of some seedlings I saw one year ago. It was at that time, the beginning of May 2008, that Sara and I started the Urban Plant Research project. This was one of the first entries in my logbook, made while Sara was still here on her Berlin visit.
7 May 2008, around 12:30
In front of the Berliner Caree, between Karl-Liebknecht-Straße and the S-Bahn
At a flower stand in between a jewelry discounter and the Bräuhaus Mitte, a florist was selling tomatoes to a middle-aged woman from his flower stand, which was mostly made up of flowerpots in rows on the ground. She asked the price of tomato plants. 90 cents, he said, or these small ones here for 70. I was amazed that such well-developed tomato plants should cost so little, especially considering that each would grow to fill half a cubic meter and produce a quantity of tomatoes that might cost 30 or 40 times the price of the seedling if purchased in a grocery store.
After selecting the four largest tomato plants, the woman then inquired about bell peppers. The man hesitated and said regretfully that he had no pepper plants, then, half-hopefully, pointed out that he had “Gurgen.” “Gurke” means “Cucumber” in German, but it sounded as though he had not said “Gurken,” but rather “Gurgen.” I looked at the plants he indicating and sure enough, they were marked “Gurge.” They, too, had been assigned a price that seemed to me heartbreakingly low. They sat two to a pot in three rows of four pots, having just developed their first one or two notched, adult leaves in addition to their two innocently round, simply-shaped seed leaves…
I took a picture. Sara was waiting for the bus and writing in her notebook, so she did not get to see the Gurgen.