Saturday, April 20, 2013

Spring Arrives

So far April is not the cruelest month in this province, but delightfully balmy. Yes, there was that week when the winds whipped wickedly through town, so that 30 degrees now feels like a summer day.  I've bought three giant bags of dirt and have been planting seeds in the house.  My husband, who thinks buying bags of dirt is ridiculous, prefers the term "potting soil" so he feels less ripped off.   But what else do you do when earth is still hidden under several feet of snow, and it's time to plant seeds?  Purple carrots, lettuce, and nasturtiums   That's as far as I've gotten, and I probably won't plant much more from seed.

I've always been mystified when people claim to not be able to cook--how hard is it to boil noodles or chop up a salad or put on a crock pot full of beans?  I mean, you don't have to be fancy with food to be fed.  But that gross incompetence is exactly how I feel about planting seeds. How far down  in the dirt do you put the seeds, how much dirt do you put on top,  how much water do you give them,  how do you administer the water?  My plants tend to range from desert parched to drowning.   If you are at all comfortable with plants, you'll probably look at me and give me some very relaxed answers that make no sense to me.  Or maybe you'll say something like for carrots sprinkle a 1/4 inch of dirt on top.   I'll painstakingly try to follow the direction, with the same confusion of someone who doesn't know what a pinch of salt is.

Of course, the real issue is faith.  Life wants to happen.  It's incredulous that lettuce comes from a few sprinklings of feather-light seeds.  I just can't wrap my mind around it.  I think of the sun warming the soil, then adding a little water, and suddenly green is growing.   I understand how photosynthesis works, but that's not what I'm really talking about.  I'm less concerned with explanations than I am about the wonder that life happens at all.  My plants need some faith that they will grow (and the love and attention that accompanies faith), and I'm bewildered that,  in spite of my doubt, the seeds have taken root and little green shoots have sprouted up.  Except for the nasturtiums; they've been in dirt for less than a week.

Practically though, I really would like some advice on how to tell how much water to give the little darlings.  Already my poor lettuces are looking wimpy after their transplant.  

On a slightly different note, I found the children's picture book Rose's Garden to be quite encouraging on my gardening quest.  If you have kids it's definitely worthwhile, and even if you don't, it'll bring a little smile to your day. 


  1. Wish I could help, but I'm useless with gardening. It is something I want to be better at though! Maybe this summer?

  2. Love this!
    Wrt seeds, the general rule of thumb that the smaller the seed, the more shallow you bury it, may be more helpful than the 1/4 inch this 1/2 inch that thing--stuff grows wild, it doesn't have to be that exact.
    But when you're growing things indoors, the really huge thing is _light_. I saw a demonstration with a gauge measuring how much light is available from regular indoor lighting. (The unit of measurement is "foot candles" (!).) Even holding the gauge way up close to a neon strip light, it didn't come close to being sufficient light to grow a happy plant. I've started seeds indoors here right up against the windows, putting them outside in the daytime (very important not to leave out overnight ;) ) but that's only worked when I've been able to plant them out in the ground after not too long, maybe three weeks max.
    Otherwise, think about getting grow lights...

  3. Whitney: I've seen your sweet flowers growing in the shade at 1732, I have no doubt in your future garden!

    Ela: thank you, that's such a useful explanation! I've been moving my little darlings from the floor, to the windowsills and that does seem to make them happier. "Foot Candles" sounds like an excellent title for your next poem...