As we walked out to the car with our plants, Steve apologized for disappearing while Melody looked up plant information on the web. “I couldn’t stand there and watch that,” he said. “There are no experts anymore. Just users of Google.”
We followed Melody’s map back behind the garden center, and there, between the greenhouses, were approximately five trillion used containers.
“Oh my God,” I said. “Look at all of them.”
“No wonder she said we could take whatever we wanted,” Steve said. “There’s no way they’re going to recycle all these.”
We picked through the pots, selecting ones that looked like the right size. I still have no idea how many gallons each one holds, and I can report that none of the ones we picked out had the size printed on the bottom. I checked, just in case. “She said take whatever we wanted,” Steve repeated.
After selecting a set of pots, then trading some in for their sturdier-looking cousins, then trading more in, then shuffling them around, we made our final selections and loaded the pots in the trunk of my car. “Let’s go home and drop these off, and then go back to Paul’s Discount to get potting soil,” I said. “Then we can transplant everything.”
Steve nodded. “I think this is going to be good,” he said. “We’ll get this knocked out in an hour or two, and then we can go do something fun. Even if we can’t get over to Davenport for the blues festival, maybe we can go to a movie or something.”
“Or to the Jazz Festival?” I said.
About half an hour later, we arrived at Paul’s Discount, now traveling in Steve’s 1986 Acura Integra, A.K.A. Red Thunder. “Why are we taking my car to Paul’s?” Steve asked before we left the house.
“Because we’re going to be hauling dirt,” I replied.
“I see how it is,” he said.
Our list at Paul’s not only included potting soil, but also a shovel. We had come this far, and we couldn’t transplant using a trowel. It was time to invest in equipment. We also thought we might look for some more stakes.
Out in the parking lot, we stood at the base of the pile of soil, holding the container we’d brought as an example and trying to figure out how many 40-pound bags we would need. Our final total number of pots was eight: six for the tomatoes and peppers, two small ones for a transplant of the sage (rootbound) and the basil I’d planted in the garden (also not juglone-resistant). We eyeballed and added until we came up with our total: 20 bags of soil.
“How much are they?” Steve asked.
“Two dollars a bag,” I said. “That’s not terrible, especially considering everything we’ve spent on this so far.” I shot a glance back at Red Thunder. “Do you think we can get all of it in the car?”
“Are you kidding?” Steve said. “Red Thunder can roll with it.”
I shrugged. “OK, but remember, it’s 800 pounds of dirt.”
“No problem,” he said.