(Feb 8)Tray #1.
February. This is the beginning of the growing year. Then there will be two trays, then five, and eight…
Soon every windowsill be be filled, and the shelves will come out, until all the available glass real estate in the house is occupied by trays in early April.
I have calculated the current maximum seed tray load of the house is 14, unless I evict the aloes from the other picture window, and then I could bump it up again. I hope it doesn’t come to that. I need some limits.Outside, winter.
My licorice is poking up! Three, maybe four have sprouted. According to the very optimistic instructions on the seed packet (“germination is poor and difficult”), it’s lucky to have any sprouts at all “hatch”. I want to know if the tiny sprouts taste like licorice, but I’ll restrain myself.
Licorice is my experiment de année.
Then there’s the kale:Kale is so vigorous, and fast, and rugged. I’ve never started kale indoors, nothing other than direct seeding, but, why not. I like kale.
The 12th annual, and my 2nd, local Seedy Saturday was this weekend. It’s kind of the only time I feel a crazed shopping rush often aka “retail therapy”. SEEDS! Seedsseedsseedsseeeeds! I get a little wild.
All the pretty packages pulsing with the energy of potential, and all the pretty names of cool new (or old) varieties. Even though I know how far one seed pack can go, and I come armed with a short list of the varieties I actually need, I can’t resist impulse and just-to-make-sure purchases.
And then there’s the trade table. No risk at all to try some free new seeds.
We stayed for all the talks, and I learned something from each one. Stay tuned for forays into vermiculture and mealworm cultivation.
The last talk on seed saving by Chris Sanford gave me an aha moment about crossing. Embarrassingly simple, and something I already knew from general biology, but somehow never got when it came to seeds, because the word “species” is rarely heard when you’re talking about vegetables. Of course, the same species of anything, plant or animal, can interbreed. That’s a definition of species. And the categories of fruit or vegetables we may talk about, like “squash”, or “melons”, or “beans”, those names aren’t of species, so squash of the same species can cross, but there are multiple species OF squash. I know, I figured this out awfully late.
I got all the seeds I needed for the year (including tobacco!) at Seedy Saturday, hosted by Helping Nature Heal, in Bridgewater.
Nova Scotia’s “big” organic seed companies were all there vending seeds – Hope Seeds, Annapolis Seed, Cochrane Family Seeds, plus more – Twisted Brook, Yonder Hill, Storm Cast, and the South Shore Public Library’s Seed Library.
Then there was the free seed table, where attendees dropped off their surplus saved seeds for others to take- lots of flower seeds!
Since I was saving so much on shipping costs, I came home with a few “flights of fancy” seeds (peanuts?!) that will make this year’s experiments.
I met Nikki Jabbour, local celebrity author and year-round gardener, who gave the morning lecture, and there was a delicious soup or chili lunch with bread and popcorn, donations accepted for the food bank.
This was Helping Nature Heal‘s 11th Seedy Saturday, but the first time I made it. It was packed, unsurprisingly.
The celery has been soaked and planted. Time for starts! Outside, it’s very obviously still winter.
And if anyone passionately wants to win a farm in North Carolina…there’s a few months left to enter.