As soon as the snow begins to melt, I start getting the gardening itch. Of course, that is also about the time the seed catalogs start showing up at my mailbox. I always have to hold myself back a little and remind myself that the tiny seeds I tamp into the dirt today have a long time to wait before they will be safe from frost in the garden. This year I held off till the first week in March to start my planting ritual. And now as my little seedlings have already outgrown their first planter and it is currently snowing outside my window I am beginning to wonder if perhaps I will soon be living in a tomato jungle.
Like most hippies I make do with what I have. And what I have is a plastic tote, clamp lights, and a spare bedroom. Yes, I would love a beautiful heated green house where my little ones could thrive on natural light and organic compost but unfortunately, they are not quite that lucky. But why do I even do this in the first place? Starting garden vegetables from seed isn't particularly a set it and forget it kind of task. Now I'm not saying it's rocket science either, nature does all of the hard work, but you do need to set the right conditions to keep the new little lives happy. Peppers like heat, especially hot peppers. Tomatoes grow pretty quickly and need to be re-potted several times to prevent becoming root bound. And everyone needs more light than what my house naturally provides. So why spend weeks planting, watering, lighting, replanting, and watering some more when I could just go down to the home improvement store and pick up a flat for a couple bucks and throw them in the garden?
I could go on and on about how you don't know what kind of chemical fertilizers were used or what kind of pesticides the plants were treated with. You are going to be eating from these plants so those are viable reasons. I could also say that I want specific heirloom varieties that aren't readily available in stores but recently heirlooms have been making a comeback and dare I say are becoming trendy so finding the plants I want is not a huge issue any longer. No, the biggest reason I have for starting my seeds is the relationship I develop with them.
Now, I'm sure the question that automatically pops into your head is 'Are you crazy?' Yes, most definitely yes, but that's beside the point. But let's look at this 'logically'. It has been proven that plants grow better when talked too. And research is being performed showing that plants can perhaps feel pain and show stress signals when threatened. While this research is still controversial, it is worth considering especially when dealing with the plants that feed us. So, from the time they pop out of the soil till the time I say good bye after the first killing frost I talk to my plants with love and respect. I thank them for the produce they provide for me and infuse them with my energy as I walk through the garden and gently touch their leaves. Germinating my friends in my home and watching them reach for the light for the first time gives me a connection to that life that cannot be replicated. And perhaps in sharing this connection with them, they are just as grateful to share their energy and their nourishment with me. That is my hope at least.
Never stop growing!