It’s January 14th, I know. But yes, these seedlings are happily growing on the table in my kitchen.
I’ve always been a big fan of flowers. And growing things. Of course, flowers are expensive, and so are vegetables. So at some point many years ago, I started planting the much-less-expensive-embryo version at my kitchen table every spring. I say every spring, but there have been exceptions; years I was too tired, or maybe pregnant and sick, or for whatever reason just couldn’t get myself “into” the idea of planting hope in a tray. Most springs, though, find the table packed with trays of brown sprouting tiny shoots of green.
It’s a winter ritual, I suppose. Unexpectedly, the nursery catalogs hit my mailbox and I think, “Is it really time for seeds? Surely it’s too soon!” So they’re stashed under the table until a quiet moment hits. Later, snuggled in under blankets with a cup of tea and a notebook, I pore over pages of beautiful peppers and onions and dahlias and snapdragons and roses and corn and peas and strawberries and dream of warm dirt, faithfully amended and turned and patted and watered, hiding tiny bundles of promise, and coaxed into producing new life.
And so finally today, the seedlings are up. They’ve now been moved to nestle under daylight-spectrum bulbs in my already-overcrowded bedroom, with seven weeks to go ’til they can make their outdoor debut. I peek at them more times a day than is quite sane, I’m sure, wondering at the power that drives them up toward the light. Of course they can’t stay inside forever; to really produce the beauty they’re intended to, they’ll eventually have to move outside to the sunshine and rain and wind that is their intended home. Not all at once–there will be weeks of adjustment; an hour out one day, two the next, three the next . . . “hardening off,” the seasoned gardeners call it. For now though, tender sprouts need coddling, close attention, warmth. Perfect balances of wet and dry, still air free of storms, and a chance to grow strong before that exposure comes.
Reminds me of a few other things I’m growing around here.