Friday, April 3, 2009

Little Miracles

is one
of my
times of
the year.

Nasturtium Day and Night above
Ideal Market Bean below

Like most gardeners, wintertime finds me curled up in wee hours pouring over seed catalogs and collected volumes on gardening- which in both cases seems like I can never have too many. March comes around and I can hardly wait to get my hands into the soil, even if the soil is organic compost from a bag and the ground is my little peat pots for starting seeds. I make the bargain with Mother Nature to allow freezes in the next six weeks but to be nurturing to tiny plants after that time with no more temperatures below 32 degrees. Sometimes She keeps her bargain, sometimes not. I am starting most of my plants under cover this year indoors.

The miracle of dropping a tiny seed into a pot, covering it with rich soil, and watering daily never fails to amaze me when something actually happens and a seedling springs forth. I love those first few days when the plant asserts itself into a recognizable form. Some plants seem to grow before your very eyes like the plants of the peas and beans family.

Lumina top

Amish Snap Pea right

Others seem to put forth so much effort into large first leaves that they grow more slowly, but you wonder at just how so much raw material for growth can fit into such a small space like a pumpkin seed. I am growing Luminas for the first time this year and am looking forward to seeing their white brightness glowing in the moonlight.

Many of our seedlings this year came from organic and heirloom stock. I love being able to venture out the back door into the garden with a basket and plan the days meals depending upon what presents itself as we walk the rows.

The Ideal Market Bean burst out of the soil yesterday morning, and I think it may be the most beautiful seedling I have ever seen. The leaves are exquisitely delicate and there is a slight purplish hue about them that seems to foresee the purple flowers this plant will soon put forth.
There is just so much to see and learn when you grow your own food. Planting seeds indoors at this time of year when we are trapped between beautiful sunny afternoons and hauntingly cold and windy days in between seem to give assurance that the warm days of summer surely cannot be too far off in the distance. I have been making a fresh cucumber radish salad spiced with red peppers and vinaigrette. As good as this salad is right now, I know when the ingredients come from the garden here at the farm, it will be just that much better. Some of our friends will be enjoying the harvest as well. As I have been thinning out our seedlings, I have been placing the little rooted plants in containers for visiting friends to take back to their gardens. It is amazing what such a simple gesture can do to brighten some one's day.

Longfellow Cucumber on right

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