Posted by: hightides | February 11, 2011

I want to take a few home…

My name is Dev and I’m a seedaholic.

I love that nature put everything a new plant needs into a tiny little package that can be dropped nearly anywhere, and will only pop open if all the conditions are right for the plant to survive. Engineering and art and biology and meteorology and sex and magic all in one package. Wow.

By Wednesday, all the pepper seeds will be planted in little plastic cells, kept moist and warm, awaiting their germination. When the plants are 2″ tall, they graduate to their own pots and begin the greenhouse phase of their growth. By April 15th they’ll be ready to plant in the garden.  On Friday, we start planting tomato seeds… hundreds and hundreds of tomato seeds. Every year I vow, “Never again,” and every year I plant more.

Seed catalogs are addictive.  Even companies I don’t buy from — and have never bought from — will send me glossy, full-color books in an attempt to sell me packages or pounds of seeds.  The latest from Johnny’s Seeds is 208 pages, and they send me two of each one, so I’m betting they’re glad I spend some of the seed budget in Maine. My stack of 2011 catalogs is about 12″ high, but that doesn’t include the ones in the living room, bathroom, greenhouse, and scattered across my desk. Right around 40 pounds of paper would be a good guess.

It used to be you went to the feed store and stood in front of racks of seed packages. Pretty colors, pretty pictures, glowing words on the back, impossible claims for size and production. The old stand-by varieties, like Blue Lake Beans and Honey & Cream sweet corn, were sold in bulk bins with paper bags and scoops and a sign that said, “scoop your own.” Tall cans of cucumber and radish seed on the shelves. Bags of fertilizer smelling up the aisles was also a smell that said spring was coming.  I’m lucky– there is still such a feed store within 12 miles of the farm.

Maybe that’s what it is? Maybe seeds are the promise of spring– warm sun, soft winds, spring rains, singing birds — that our bodies and minds are craving after a winter spent indoors. Even though I plant seeds year ’round in hoophouses and greenhouses, when I see those first packets with the pretty pictures, I want to take a few home. And I do. Yes, I do.

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