Miracles

Last night, after not being able to get to it for two weekends in a row, I sat down in my basement at my potting table with two seed trays and seven seed packets – two varieties of broccoli, two varieties of cabbage, and three varieties of onions. Jason pulled up a stool and sat next to me to help. And here’s where I feel a little embarrassed: I almost cried at this point. And in fact, my eyes tear up a little bit while I’m writing this.

When Jason sat down next to me, I said, “This will make you believe in miracles”. And it’s true.

Nothing is more miraculous than the process of growth. Tiny seeds, the size of a pinhead, that will (hopefully!) grow into cabbages, into heads of broccoli for Jason’s lunchbox, into bunches of onions for salsa and soup and everything else we use onions for. And oh Lord, there are so many variables. So many things that can go wrong. What if the seeds aren’t good to start out with? What if the starting mix doesn’t work? What if I over-water, or underwater, or overheat or don’t heat them enough? What if they get fungus? What if I don’t harden them off properly? What if a rabbit eats them? What if a whole horde of hungry insects invades my garden? What if there’s a drought or a flood or a cold spring or a hot spring?

I don’t expect to get everything right this year. I planted way more seeds than I have room for because I know some won’t make it. Even though I have a lifetime of observing other gardeners under my belt and a head full of knowledge, I’m really still a novice in the practical sense.

And yet, despite all of this, some things will grow. And that is what makes the act of sowing seeds so moving for me.

It was nice to sit down there together, on stools we found abandoned in the hallway of my first apartment and have carted around from place to place ever since. To open the bag and smell the potting mix and feel amazed that it smells exactly the same as it did when I was much younger and would spend evenings in the greenhouse watching my dad fill his seed trays. To talk about the land, about fruit trees and permaculture and garden plans and to share something like this with one another.

From the first day I started working at the Berry Patch and realizing just how much I loved growing things, gardening has occupied a significant space in my thoughts. It was just a part of life throughout childhood; one of my dream jobs was to work at a plant nursery and once I started to do that it felt like stepping into something I’d always been prepared for. I knew that I would always grow a garden, even if there were many years where I had to settle for a few potted houseplants. That was almost ten years ago. And here I am, starting seedlings in my own house.

Garden 2013 has officially begun.

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3 Comments to “Miracles”

  1. You have a lovely blog! I’m enjoying your writing, and I can’t wait to read more.

    • Thank you very much! I checked out your blog as well and will have to make it one of my regular reads.

      • You’re so kind! I have been saying all winter that I’m going to start my garden from seeds this year, but I may have left it too late…I’m going to see what I can get into this weekend, hopefully there are some seedlings in my future.

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