Save Seeds, Save Money

This is the first time I have ever reblogged a post, but it is one to be shared – saving seeds not only saves money but protects diversity and creates a legacy! Wonderfully written and the photos are very helpful!!

That Bloomin' Garden

Save seeds, save money

Last week I taught a class about the importance of seed saving. Seed saving has been done for thousands of years. You can save seeds from plants in your garden and dry them to use for years to come. Plants produce thousands of seeds, usually many more than they need. You see, not all seeds survive when they drop to the ground. Seeds must have the right environmental conditions to be able to grow. That’s why you see so many seeds on plants such as dandelions or poppies. I like to think of it as survival of the fittest. 

Save Seeds, Save Money

People wonder why I save seeds. I like to think that I am not only saving money but perhaps I am saving seeds from plants that you wouldn’t normally see in the garden centers. I save seeds from heirloom tomatoes, unusual cucumbers and old-fashioned flowers that are not as readily available…

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All from one tiny seed – a reflection…

Tonight my heart is raw. Not from sadness, not from despair.  Not from loneliness or hopelessness. 

imageIn fact, quite the opposite is true. It is full.  It is inspired. It has been challenged, loved, overwhelmed and is now simply raw. And I am really, really tired. One of the many little tiny seeds that have scattered into my life, at one point or another, has taken root. Maybe even two or three or twenty seven. I don’t think I will ever be able to count, but at least I have been blessed with an opportunity to truly see that I am growing.

This rambling is not specifically about gardening, it will not detail what veggies are ripe or which flowers are blooming in my yard.  It is, however, about growth. It is about the strength of a few little “seeds” that can grow into something so beautiful they could never be captured in words or photographs. It is about the need for support, the need for nourishment, the need to be loved and the need to have roots while still striving to reach upwards. It is simply what is in my heart.  I am writing this rambling tonight because I have just spent the last 3 days being reminded that truly wonderful people, who wish for nothing more than to help others, day in and day out, are very, very present in my life and I was’t even consciously aware of how badly I needed that reminder.  Yes, tonight I am writing a very emotional memoir.  It may make me vulnerable, it may make me cry again as I type and it may not be of any consequence in the end.  But if just one person reads it and is re-invigorated after feeling dragged down by whatever individual situation that is their reality in this moment, then it is worth it. If that one person shares it and others read and relate, that would be even more worth it. I feel that if I did not acknowledge and share the little seeds that have taken root, they could simply blow away, and what purpose could that serve?

So here are the little “seeds” that have been scattered throughout the many, many facets of my life and what I was so humbly reminded of this weekend as I sat at what I hoped would be an interesting, educational (and maybe even fun) Professional Development Conference. It was so, so, so much more than that.

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The Forget-me-not

I am a health professional – which profession really does not matter in this context though I am incredibly proud of my peers and of my profession. Every day I encounter patients in pain, who have reduced mobility, sometimes with experiences and beliefs that keep them prisoner from their potential, who suffer because we don’t have an “answer”, who don’t always know how to cope with their own reality or who may lack support to face their new realities.  Sometimes they simply have to be on crutches for a few weeks but that means they cannot fulfill their roles within their family unit, sometimes they have such catastrophic injuries that they may never be able to return to the life they knew.

I come to them with my own experiences, my own beliefs and my own background as well as my own limitations and coping strategies. And sometimes I don’t always remember that the encounters are not about me but because they are hard for me, I pull on my shell so as not to be vulnerable. Or I look at the person like a standard package of seeds; looking at the 2 dimensional cover picture, reading the directions, following the guidelines and then become baffled when they do not do what I expect them to. I don’t mean to, but it happens. I was reminded that my role is not to impart my knowledge, assume the person receiving it will accept it and then lay blame on them when they do not flourish as I expected.

I was reminded that not only at my work, but in every area of life, people suffer. Deep inside, we all just need to feel valued.  We all need to be validated and heard.  Not just listened to, but heard.  We all need support and a strong root system if we are going to grow. I was challenged to the core to remember that though it is my “job” to treat people and help them to improve their function, it is my purpose to “Forget-them-not” and always remember that there is a vulnerable little seed in each of us. I can be the nourishment and the support, I can provide the space to flourish or the windbreak for protection for those who may be vulnerable. I can be the advocate and the voice for those tiny seeds surrounded by weeds who may not know how to find their way on their own.  But I can also very easily be the hail, the grasshopper, the hurricane or the hungry deer. Without realizing it, I can cause harm and hurt by simply not hearing what I should have.  In every area of my life, in all of my interactions and especially in my profession, it is the lives, the values and the beliefs of others that I need to hear and remember. Not just mine.

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The Sunflower 

I am always amazed at how little a Russian Mammoth seed is compared to the flower that grows from it. I am struck by how spindly the little seedling is when it pokes out. Yet, given the right conditions, one little sunflower seed that falls out of the bird feeder into earth that is ready for it, can grow and grow and grow!  It matures into a flower that physically smiles into the light!  It’s smile is infectious and as it continues to grow, it produces more and more and more seeds!

That one little seed never set out meaning to make a difference in the garden. It certainly never intends to feed hungry birds with the thousands of it’s own seeds that are produced as it’s season winds to an end. And it could never possibly have imagined how far it’s little seeds could be spread by those hungry little birds as they scatter them abroad.

There are sunflowers in my life.  There are sunflowers in my family, there are sunflowers at my church, there have been many, many, many sunflowers in my patients.  They can never fully understand the impact they have had with their big, sunny, light chasing smiles. And the most beautiful part about the sunflowers in my life and those I witnessed this weekend is that they don’t want to be roses – they are not looking for any recognition or renumeration, they simply want to share the joy of their smiles and are brave enough to do it.

But for sunflowers to produce enough seed to feed the birds and be spread as they fly, they too must have fertile, receptive soil and be given lots of light and space. The inspiring people I heard speaking this weekend and many others I have encountered in my life are truly beautiful Sunflowers. And hopefully those of us listening are the elements they need to keep growing.  Without all those supports, or when left alone without light, the smile fades and the flower droops. The quiet supporting elements are just as important to keep the Sunflower smiling!

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Hen and Chicks

These are amazing little plants.  They do not propagate from seed, they don’t spread far and they don’t put on a big show. But they thrive in a variety of settings and together they stay strong as the Mama hovers over. I love how wikipedia describes them ~ “The “hen” is the main plant, and the “chicks” are the offspring, which start as tiny buds on the main plant and soon sprout their own roots, taking up residence close to the mother plant.”  As I finished my conference, I walked to towards the water to meet my children and my father for an evening sail.  The Halifax Waterfront on a warm sunny day truly is one of my favourite places to be.  I grew up spending time on or near the water and it is where I go when I grow weary.  The shear enormity of the ocean can be overwhelming, but the harbour is a safe, welcoming inlet bursting with life.  I love my little girls, truly, deeply, simply. To bursting.  They try me, they push me, they challenge me, but they always fill me. Obviously, they are the “chicks” to my “hen”.

But I realized I have the opportunity to help other “chicks”. After listening to a story at the conference that touched far too close to home professionally about a patient who was lost to suicide and how that experience affected one of my peers to advocate on behalf of hundreds of thousands who could have been lost within themselves or the system, I walked towards the water with a renewed drive to keep pushing for what I know to be right in my heart. When I see that something is happening and that I may be able to advocate on behalf of someone, I have to.

I am not going to create new policy or change the world. There is little chance that more than a handful will ever remember my name when I am gone, but everyday I have the honour of building relationships with one new person at a time. It won’t be necessary for each new patient, each new friend or each family member, but I need to strive to recognize those moments when I need to be someone’s “Hen” to their “chick”.  It may only help one person at a time, and it may not be significant to anyone else but them, but it must be done.

The Trillium

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The little plants that grow in the woods, deep in the shade, where few venture sometimes have the capacity to produce the most beautiful blooms. The final seed I want to share is the Trillium.  This was not part of my conference. This was not part of the times I spent with my friends or even the girls afterwards.  It was simply one of those moments when I was wrapped up in a task and something from the shade came to light.

I was helping my Dad prep the sailboat to leave the floating dock and as I was untying ropes and telling kids to put on life jackets and watching for other boats, a man called to me from the wharf above.  He simply called to me said he had a gift for me.  He was scruffy and dirty but there was a little light in his eye and he was smiling from his heart.  He was clearly someone who was from the “shade”. He was reaching out his hand to toss something down to me, so I smiled and commented on what a lovely day it was.  He beamed back and told me I had pretty hair and that a butterfly would be perfect in it.  I wasn’t sure what he meant, but he obviously meant no harm.  I am not sure why, but I reached up and he handed me a little silver clip.  On the clip was a delicate silver butterfly and 2 little flowers.  The clip itself was broken, and it was very likely a trinket he had found on the boardwalk that no one else would value.  But I will value it.  My girls will remember it.  And as I climbed onto our sailboat and we pulled away from the dock, he smiled and waved and wished us well. My wee girl held the butterfly clip in her little hand, smiling and waving back.  To us he was not a plant in the shade, he was a beautiful trillium that we were blessed to simply see for a moment.

And again I am crying.  It was the simple act of giving to make someone else feel valued that touched me so deeply. It was the look in the eyes of my little girls and the smiles on their faces that made my soul soar because I knew they understood in their hearts what this little gesture meant.  Here I was, leaving a conference about how I could go out and change lives and support others who were changing the world.  Here I was, in nice clothing, surrounded by my family, climbing onto a beautiful sailboat. And here he was, from the “shade”, what many would consider broken and worthless. Yet he was the one who gave me such a beautiful gift.  He was the one with nothing but a smile, a few kind words and a broken clip with a delicate little butterfly and 2 pretty little flowers. And I was the one who felt valued and loved.

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Maybe, just maybe, I am the delicate little butterfly, my girls are the 2 pretty flowers, growing all the time but always close to me, and maybe it is actually my patients, my friends and my family who are the supports and nourishment I need so that I can bury my roots deep and smile brightly at the sun. 

Tomato-geddon begins! Little hands strike again….

“Mama!  I dropped some on the floor, so I picked them up and threw them in too!” Pause, 2, 3, 4….

“Mama!  Did you say 6 or did you really mean 14?!”  Pause 2, 3, 4…

“Mama!!  I really like purple, so I added 7 extra seeds.” Pause 2, 3, 4…

“Mama! If the seeds are a little furry, is it okay if I just plant them all?  I think there were about 18, but only 3 weren’t furry…” Pause 2, 3, 4…

“Mama!  Is it okay if I added 2 for good luck?”

These are actual quotes that I managed to write down while suppressing giggles, a few tears and trying not to panic out loud.

Yup – little hands were at it again!  “Tomato-geddon” officially began for the 2015 season on March 31st.  “6 of each kind, except the orange ones, you can plant 12 of those. But no more.”, I said.

We had carefully selected 9 varieties of tomatoes to try this year after looking through our notes, checking out the catalogues and reading reviews on our new favourite blogs.  We picked 9 types knowing full well that we would inevitably find a 10th seedling variety that we couldn’t survive the summer without at one of the greenhouses we frequent in the summer (well, okay, maybe 2 more types if we happen to black-out a little from all the excitement and the heat)…that would give us no more than 66 plants if all the seedlings made it.  My plan was for 30, max, to go into the garden, a few in big planters and a few to share.

I should have known better!

Here is how is went down…

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First we set up our starter trays – we thought it was oddly amusing to plant tomato seeds in tomato containers…

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Then Little hands filled them about 2 inches full with Pro Mix…only a bit ended up on the floor…

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She wet the soil to nice and moist with warm water…

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Then she began planting her seeds.  She planted determinate and indeterminate, both heirloom and hybrids (we need some to survive the late blight).  I had my back to her as I was washing up some other trays to plant annual flowers.  I thought I could trust her to stick with the limits!  I forgot that she was my kid!  Bahahahahaha!!!

In the end she started:

Heirlooms:

3, or maybe 18, Gold Dust

6 Mennonite (orange)

8 Alaska

8, or maybe, 20 Scotia

6 12 Sub Arctic Plenty (they fell on the floor)

6 Ha! 13 Black Plum, and maybe more…

Hybrids:

14 Sun Gold cherry – 2 for good luck, they are her favourite!

6 14 Big Beef, because 6 really does mean 14…

8 Lemon Boy, we ran out of seeds…

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Before I could get an accurate head count, they were snuggled under a fine layer of soil and spritzed oh-so-carefully…

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After they were all covered up, they got placed on the heat mats to speed up germination – which amazingly only took 3 or 4 days to start.

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One week later, here were about 92 happy little seedlings reaching up for the lights!

I feel another epic potting up party coming up this weekend.  I hope I have enough yogourt containers saved up! I love those Little hands so very much…

It is still 6 weeks until we should be able to plant tomatoes out into the garden without extra protection- there is still time to start some from seed!

“Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad.” ~Brian O’Driscoll

A glimpse under the grow lights – April 7th (or Survival of the fittest and vegetable infanticide…)

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Nova Scotia continues to be buried in feet, yes FEET, of white stuff. In fact, we woke up to another 5-10 cms this morning.  Usually by this time we are prepping early beds, assembling poly tunnels and seriously considering planting the early veggies outdoors under cover (peas, kale, bok choy, onions, beets, carrots, chard and spinach)…not this year. There is some hope in that the temperatures are warming up and there has been some melting but at this rate I am afraid it will be a very, very late start to the garden. Thankfully the grow lights are shining away and the early starts are doing well – the veggie babies may not have a nice dirty outdoor place to move into before they peak, but they seem happy for now.

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Potted up veggies, herbs and flowers patiently waiting under the lights until they can move outdoors.

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Columbine reaching for the light.

Many have been potted up to larger pots and some have graduated to another location with less direct light as we have started to run out of space under the lights.  My wee girl has a nice sunny window and found a little greenhouse unit that has moved into her bedroom as well for her maturing flowers(she simply had to have it…and I simply couldn’t say no…) !!

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She simply HAD to have it!! We added some lights to the bottom for a little something extra…

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A few of my Wee girl’s Coleus plants happy in the sunshine! (This is about half of them…oooops!)

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Chamomile, Impatiens and Rudbeckia – also in her greenhouse…ahem…bedroom…

We have had some casualties, sadly. This weekend, as we were potting up seedlings and starting new seeds (the 6-8 week prior crowd), we found many seedlings that had been burnt by organic seaweed fertilizer. Yup, unintentional vegetable infanticide. We had diluted the fertilizer even more than the directions had stated and waited until at least 2 sets of leaves had grown, but it was still too strong and in the end, only the strong survived….fail.  The bok choi and chard were hit the hardest, with jalapeños suffering a fair amount as well.  The cauliflower and broccoli fared somewhat better, with the strongest seedlings overcoming the weaker ones.  Survival of the fittest. And unfortunately this is the second year in a row we managed to do this…double fail.

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Damage from the fertilizer – discolouration and stunted growth. I am not sure if they will pull through. Has anyone else had this issue?

My wee girl was pretty sad and after we gave the lost seedlings a little burial in the compost bin we had a big chat about the circle of life. I never expected that gardening would lead to philosophical discussions of life, death and the afterlife, but am glad that I had the opportunity for this talk to happen over vegetables before she really has to deal with a loss of someone close. So as we continue to wait, and wait, and wait for the snow to melt, at least I can pass on a few life lessons and we can peek under the lights (instead of under frost blankets) to see what’s poking up!

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“Oh yes, the past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it or learn from it.” ~ Rafiki (after bonking Simba on the head – probably what I deserve!

Obsessive Seeding Disorder (O-Seed-D)

IMG_2000Hello, I am a gardner and I have a problem. Whew, what a relief to get that off my conscience!  But I actually do not want any help getting over my condition, in fact I hope it is contagious! I wouldn’t call it an addiction, per se, I could stop if I wanted to (ha!), more of a vice (because I choose to spend many hours during my week thinking about seeds).  My husband refers to it as my obsession.  Obsessive Seeding Disorder. Guilty!

Because our growing season in Nova Scotia is roughly 20 weeks frost-free, a lot of thought has to go into what seeds I will plant, how and when they will be started and where they can be planted without getting devoured by wild life once outside.  Thankfully, Nova Scotia has a fairly large collection of gardeners who share my O-Seed-D affliction and there are many good resources to help with the daunting task of picking the right variety of seed!  I have found kindred spirits and had great conversations in the church nursery, at my daughter’s basketball games, over a glass of wine at bonfires down the street, during “meditation” time in yoga class and even during the odd moment of down time at work (I would say don’t tell my boss, but I think he is part of the club).  I have been surprised by some of the people that speak up when the topic of seeds pops up – there are many closet gardeners you would never suspect!

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My seed box and seeding journal…sigh…so beautiful!

Seed planning for this year started with seed planting last year.  I have a small journal that I keep notes in from year to year with planting dates and techniques used.  I track germination rates, successes and failures.  I make notes about what I started far too early, too late and which varieties were a complete flop so as not to repeat the same mistake twice.  Einstein proved his brilliance when he said “The definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over and expecting different results…” That said, I often forget this quote and black out a bit when I pull out my trays – my obsession takes over and it seems entirely reasonable to start 100 tomatoes when I can only actually fit 20-30 plants in my garden! I also have a specific seeding calendar (one of the many charity ones that come in the mail) for tracking planting dates for inside and out.  I find this method using the calendar a quick and easy way to keep myself on track without too many fancy spreadsheets or by trying to keep seed packets sorted by starting dates.

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Annual Family Seed Organizing Event – (my gardening minions get to vote and veto what they didn’t like last year). Only the favourites get to go into the box and on the list for this year!

I am not a psychologist or geneticist, but I am quite certain that this condition is genetic.  My grandmother always had far too many seedlings for the amount of pots she could plant and my girls are exhibiting the same quirks to which I simply cannot say no.  Just last weekend my wee girl and I were going to seed just 12 jalapeños and 12 munchkin broccolis so they would be ready to plant out in the early tunnels. Fail.  I gave her the scoop and seed starting mix, turned my back to bleach few more cells left over from last year (to make sure there were no diseases to spread) and before I knew it I heard her counting “22, 23, 24, 25…” of each!  Some celery also managed to find it’s way into trays, and some lavender, and some columbine (because we saw those at the store and thought we may not be able to live without them any longer), and some chamomile (because we weren’t sure how we managed to live without them until now), and some Black Eyed Susans (because how could we go on living with such an unfulfilling ditch)……….you get the picture. Just one more reason to add to my list of the thousand reasons I love that little girl!

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See?! I am not alone! Thanks for the support Green Sparrow Gardens!

Selecting the variety of seed can be overwhelming – this is where seed catalogues and a support group come in.   I try to use Canadian seed as much as possible, and preferably grown by sources from the maritimes to ensure the best chances for my Nova Scotia garden.  Each catalogue has planting guides and friends who have been in “the club” for much longer than I have shared their wisdom and extra seeds freely. I have discovered some delicious veggies that I would never have tried myself simply by spreading my roots and soaking up any borrowed wisdom that comes my way.  Somehow, even reporting back how a new veggie is doing has strengthened some great relationships with truly wonderful people.

I select seed for many reasons – storing, freezing, drying, overwintering, canning.  It all started as a small summer garden in my first house and over the years has grown into…well, alright, I admit it, an obsession!  Anyone who wants to join my club is more than welcome, there is always room for more in my garden, even if I run out of space under my lights!

This is the seeding guide from Halifax Seed  and my calendar and for this year:imageimageimageimage image   

This is my veggie list for this year (sorry about the printing):

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These are my new picks (so far) for this year:

Veggies:

Peppermint Swiss Chard (Halifax Seed) – Thanks Niki!

Sub Arctic Plenty Tomatoes (Still looking…) – Thanks Brenda!

Green Envy Cherry toms (Burpees) – Thanks Wendy!

Black Plum Tomatoes (Still looking) – thanks Margeurite!

Sicilia Violetto Cauliflower (Suttons), Tonya’s Pick Pod beans (Annapolis) and Purple Sun Carrots (Suttons) for the “Purple bed”

Celebration Squash (Veseys)

Gonevese Basil (Gusto Italia)

Market Express Baby Turnip (Halifax Seed) – Never thought of turnip tops before last year – Thanks Deborah!

Flowers

Rudbeckia – Just for Debbie! (Hope Seeds)

Columbine – thanks for posting that picture last year Selena! (McKenzie)

Climbing vine and Ladybird Cream Purple Spot Nasturtium (McKenzie)

German Chamomile (Burpees)

Perennial Dianthus (from our own seed)

Have a look at the Borrowed Wisdom section for my favourite East Coast Resources

” An addiction to gardening is not at all bad when you consider all the other choices in life” ~ Cora Lee Bell

Little hands can…pot up flower babies!

Little Hands Can…

Little hands can fill pots and wet them down…

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Little hands can gently dig out her flower babies…

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Little hands can snuggle her flower babies into their new little homes…

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Little hands can turn on her very own lights…

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Little Lessons Learned

Little hands can plant a lot more seeds than I realized…Oops…

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Little seeds collected fresh last fall germinate far better than seed packets! Last year we planted 100 Coleus seeds and got 9 plants. Somehow this year we ended up with 136 little seedlings.  Oops…

Little hands get upset if not every last seedling gets potted up…Oops…

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Less than a little patience was needed!  We thought Coleus were supposed to be slow plants, they aren’t. They can’t go outside until May.  And where did those Calendulas and Coneflowers come from?! Oops…

Little hands may need to learn how to set up more lights!

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Maybe Daddy will help…Mama needs a nap.

The flower baby stork arrived!

Instead of a rambling…ahem…memoir, this is a quick, excited “garden gush”!

My wee girl was checking up on her seed babies last night and found many had germinated all ready (they are quite tiny and hard to see in photos, but about 80% are up)!  A little happy dance ensued…

Tenny, tiny perennial dianthus the stork delivered last night

Teeny, tiny perennial dianthus the stork delivered last night.

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The first of my little girl’s pink and white petunias have poked up from their nest! Only 4 days since they were seeded in the incubation station.

Mama’s sweet basil and opal basil germinated in 3 days on the heat mats. My happy dance was not nearly as cute…

” Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant.” ~ Robert Lewis Stevenson 

Little hands, little seeds, very little patience

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I love these little hands.  They never cease to amaze me.  They create a never ending flurry of love notes and drawings as gifts for anyone who ventures by.  They are constantly seeking out snuggles and touches.  They pray. They draw, paint and crochet long chains of whatever she imagines her creations should be that day (hairbands, necklaces, handcuffs…). They love to be sticky making the perfect cookie and can cut veggies and fruit for that perfect snack!  And, just like every little person I have ever known, these little hands can pick and pester. They can swipe clothes and smuggle away other treasured items from her big sister’s room.  They can also spill and, oh boy, can they make messes!  As time has passed these little hands have grown and changed as they have acquired new skills – from trying to pick up little pieces of toast and getting that spoon into her mouth to pulling the puppy’s hair and manipulating board games pieces.

imageBut because these sweet little hands belong to a little person, they are very impatient!  That could also be a function of being my child as well…I am not known for being patient. Last February, we bought a number of annual flower seeds for our first attempt at growing flowers from scratch indoors.  We have always had great luck with direct seeding sunflower seeds and poppies once the soil warmed up, but indoor annual growing proved to be a lot of work with a relatively poor outcome.  Or so I thought. Only about 10% of our seeds ever germinated, despite my little’s ones best efforts to urge them on.  She used my heat mats, moisture domes and a little grow light she picked out for her very own room.  She spritzed them and spoke to them lovingly.  She bounced around waiting and waiting for the little seeds she had meticulously nestled into her starter soil to poke up.  When a few of them finally did, she let me transplant them into cells (her little hands were not up to this delicate task yet…).

As the days warmed up, she hauled her two trays of seedlings in and out every morning and evening to harden off.  Finally, in early June, she very carefully placed her flower babies into the shiniest, prettiest pots she could find.  She also filled my deck boxes and planters.  When she wasn’t looking, I added a few stuffers, but I got caught and was not allowed to add anymore flowers.  These little plimageants looked pretty sad.  Being a little particular myself, I really had to bite my tongue and keep my own hands still so as not to “aid” in her accomplishments.

However, once outside, my darling girl would not give up.  She continued to water and deadhead.  She even sang and danced for her flower babies (it was really stinking cute!).  She named quite a few of them. She proudly pointed out each and every flower she started from seed to everyone who visited. In no time, the pots, planters and deck boxes were the most beautiful we’d ever had!  I guess it was me who also needed some patience.

As the cool fall weather came, she started to collect the seed heads and store her little seeds in a binder I was given as a gift from Lee Valley.  I stored it away in the cabinet for the winter and had pretty much forgotten about them until other day.  Her big sister was off at one of her many sporting events and we were looking for something to do that did not involve being plugged in.  Her little mind very quickly went to her seeds…

imageAlthough it is really quite early to be starting seeds, I didn’t think it would hurt to start a few trays of slower growing flowers, herbs and leeks (flowers included petunias, coleus, black eyed susan vines and coneflowers.) We found some old starter soil and earthworm castings and went to work.  We had been saving tomato, peach, strawberry and lettuce containers to try as seedling trays to save money this year, so out they came as well. They seemed to work well because they had drainage holes in them already and the clear covers act like mini greenhouses to hold in moisture, saran wrap enveloping the other nests.  We filled each tray with about 2 inches of soil, her little hands watering and stirring until moist (and very messy). Each little seed was gently tucked in under a fine layer of earthworm castings.  She found it quite funny we were playing with worm poop! The heat mats and an old coffee table have been transformed into an incubation station in the living room in front of a sunny window.  As a final touch, those sweet little hands wrote out tags for her seed babies, last year’s flower’s babies.

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And as I am watching my baby’s little hands grow and change far too quickly, she will try to wait patiently while watching her little seed babies lay down roots and grow.

“In every gardener, there is a child who still believes in the seed fairy.” – Robert Brault