The vegetable life does not content itself with casting from the flower or the tree a single seed, but it fills the air and earth with a prodigality of seeds, that, if thousands perish, thousands may plant themselves, that hundreds may come up, that tens may live to maturity; that, at least one may replace the parent. Ralph Waldo Emerson
Seeds, amazing structures, some tiny, barely the size of the head of a pin, some large like the sunflower or a bean, that produce an almost infinite variety of plants, delight and nourish us. When January comes along so do the seed catalogs. We have the time and the energy to pour over endless possibilities. Never boring, we drool over page after page of color and form all in preparation for that spring garden. Seeds, tiny and large have the potential of infinitely so much more. I wonder how we can doubt that the universe is abundant beyond measure?
Here’s a couple of basic seed facts, good reminders for the upcoming growing season.
1. Seeds develop in the ovary of a flower, most from flowering plants and some from non-flowering plants.
2. It is a miniature plant with a protective cover in a suspended state of development
3. Inside each seed is the genetic information for future growth, a food supply, called endosperm that can be made up of proteins, carbohydrates or fats. Considered nutrition, this food store supplies the world’s major foods e.g. cereals, wheat, and rice.
Seeds are precious. Together with healthy soil, good water, and air they feed us, nourish us, delight our senses in so many ways. Yet, we have manipulated them, doused them and injected them with substances not natural to their very existence. I hope you will continue to buy heirloom, organic varieties of seeds. When we support the companies that offer us these invaluable choices we cast a vote. We make a difference, one choice at a time.
Seed Starting Tips*
1. Get your timing right for seeds chosen.
2. Buy fresh seed. Remember seed is alive.
3. Inoculating seeds is one of the best ways to encourage healthy production. “Inoculation may be defined as the process of adding effective bacteria to the host plant seed before planting. The purpose of inoculation is to make sure that there is enough of the correct type of bacteria present in the soil so that a successful legume-bacterial symbiosis is established.”
4. Use seed-starting mix or germination mix.
5. Cleanliness counts: when reusing flats, trays, cells or pots wash with a dilute bleach solution: 1:10 bleach to water; soapy water can also be used.
6. Pre-moisten mix before using but do not leave soggy.
Seed Germination Tips
1. Bottom heat is recommended and a dome or plastic lid or plastic wrap can create a germination chamber too; looking for 70 degrees.
2. Once plants have emerged, take off the lid and shut off heat.
3. Don’t let seeds dry out before they germinate: let the soil go slightly dry between watering.
4. Water new seedlings lightly. Heavy hose sprays can damage tender growth.
5. Seedlings need lots of light; Take outside by day and bring in by night till time for planting
Seed Planting Tips
1. Harden off seeds first: place outside during day 1-3 hours in a sheltered location. Do this over 7-10 days. Protect from strong sun, wind, and cool temperatures.
2. Chose the strongest and healthiest looking seedlings to plant in the garden. Weak or smaller than average can yield poor results.
3. Plan for succession sowings. Sow a short row every couple of weeks to avoid large servings of lettuce in a single day’s harvest.
We forget our holistic relationship to the world around us, a partnership is a dynamic, thriving one. While the above offers practical advice let us not forget about our connection to all that is around us. It is my deepest hope to kindle within you a reverence again for nature and that includes seeds.
“In every seed lie the components of all life the world has known from all time to now.”
—Sister Joan Chittister
from “Seeds of a New Humanity”
* Disclaimer: I participate in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn small fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliate sites. Thank you so much for supporting these efforts to pass on worthwhile and invaluable resources. And as I said before I love books and high-quality garden supplies. It’s a pleasure to share with you my favorites. Enjoy. Judith