Sunday, March 5, 2017
Starting From Seed
I am inside today recovering from a brutal day yesterday of frigid temperatures in the teens, high wind warnings and a wind chill of -2! The wind has finally subsided but we woke to 10 degrees this morning with a promise of "maybe" 30 by afternoon. So what does any hardy woman born and raised in the northeast do on such a day? She puts up a pot of soup ... and starts planting seeds!
Yes, you heard right: Planting Seeds. No, not outside, of course. I doubt highly that I could even get a hoe or a spade into the frozen ground right now. I'm talking about getting my little peat pots and cartons laid out and ready to fill with luscious, organic soil from a bag into which I will either poke a hole and insert one seed, or sprinkle the really tiny ones over the top and lightly cover with a thin layer of soil. A little misting to wet them in, pop them on a sunny window sill or under a light and, Voila!" In a few weeks, little green sprouts will start to poke up through the soil. By the time the ground warms up enough to receive them, my little plants will be a few inches tall and hardy enough to establish themselves in the new garden which, this year, will be at my daughter's house. My new apartment is way too little with no porch or balcony to house even a container garden, and my daughter's yard is in dire need of help (alas, she did not inherit her mother's green thumb ... more like a black one ... but thankfully both of her daughters did). I get to create a whole new garden and I get free labor to boot! How awesome is that?
Growing a garden from seed is not for everyone. It takes a lot of work, lots of planning, as many wins as there are loses, and, above all, faith and patience. Anyone can go buy an already established plant from a store and pop it in the ground, but you miss out on the beautiful experience of watching the birth of life from its beginnings. Just like humans, a plant starts from a seed, and with love and patience it grows, sometimes painfully slow and not without its setbacks and disappointments.
No one comes into this world knowing everything and knowing how to do everything. You can't go to a human store and buy an already established person to plop down in your home who will know how best to run your life and the lives of your family. It would be nice, but it has been my experience that the best way to learn something is by starting small, starting simply, and taking my time. Yes, I will make mistakes. Yes, I will sometimes have to rip it out and start over, but I will be all the wiser for having done so. It is in our setbacks and supposed failures that real growth takes root.
I know that starting a brand new garden in a brand new place will be a challenge. I have no idea what the soil is like, what kind of drainage it has and how the sun moves across the plot from sunrise to sundown. These are all things I will have to learn. Some things may have to be grown in large pots or raised beds until the soil has been amended and I know what will grow best there. Just like in life, we won't know if we can do something until we try, and then try again; but we'll never know unless we're willing to dig in and get our hands dirty.
As for me, I'm starting small, with herbs, lettuces, beans and the easy stuff. We'll see what Mother Nature has in store for me as the season progresses. For now, it's enough to start from seed and see what blossoms.
And so it is.