Sunday, April 26, 2015

Insta-Garden, My Fave!

Bulbs coming while waiting for veg
A friend once calligraphed a plaque for me with the words: Who plants a seed beneath the sod and waits to see believes in God. It’s lovely. Even so, I hate planting seeds. I don’t like it in the greenhouse and I like it even less in the garden. Part of it, I think is that I like to SEE the results of my labor, (which of course is the point the plaque is making about faith and delayed gratification). I get it. I just don’t like it. Except for the little sticks I sometimes use as markers for my garden’s uneven rows and grids, I can’t actually see the results of seeding. And I hate waiting to see – if the seeds are going to germinate and come up; if they do, what the germination rate will be; if I’m going to come out one morning and discover that the protective row cover I used to camouflage them has blown off and the critters have sheared whatever it was to the ground.

Of course, even though I hate planting seeds, I did some more of it yesterday -- parsnip, spinach, lettuce, kohlrabi and, with fingers crossed, beans. Not limas, which need warmer soil – they go in about the beginning of May when the soil has warmed to about 55 or 60F. But haricots verts and bush Romas need about 50F degrees. I sprinkled them with some of last year’s inoculant to help germination. I've tried planting legumes with and without inoculant; in my experience, inoculant helps. Now for the waiting.
Beans, spinach, lettuce seeds beneath row cover. Sorry rabbits!

Even though virtually any green shoot is a sitting duck for the voracious critters, once things come through the ground, I’m a much happier camper, which is why I really enjoy putting plants in the ground. Especially the things I’ve nursed through the first weeks of life in the greenhouse and spent the time and energy to harden off -- occasionally running out at midnight in my nightgown as I did two nights ago worried that the basil I had in a cart to harden off with the peppers and tomatoes would suffer with the low 40F overnight temp that had been predicted. I hauled the whole lot back inside the greenhouse and late the next morning, hauled ‘em back out again to enjoy the sun and get accustomed to the outdoors. Such a helicopter mom. 

Waiting for peas to get too big for rabbits
Yet even though each stage from seed to table presents its own set of complications, once you put a few things in the ground that are actual plants, it’s like instant garden. You can see immediately the result of the labor. The last thing I did that day after planting seeds was to cover the beds with row cover. Then, feeling virtuous, as though I’d earned a little treat, I sat down outside with the dog, a book and a glass of wine to enjoy the lowering sun spilling across the yard. As I turned pages and drank in a beautiful evening, I felt happy. I hate planting seeds, but I love having planted. Now all I have to do is wait.

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