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Saturday, April 12, 2014

Planting Two Kinds of Seeds

So many choices!!
Spring starts a little later here at 4,000 feet than it did when I lived in the fertile Sacramento Valley.  Back then, I was beginning to harvest in May.  Now, I am lucky to have everything planted by then.

To hurry things up a bit, I start the process indoors with little greenhouse seed trays around this time of year, even if there's still some snow on the ground (which there is, here and there).  I love to tend my tiny little rows, but I never do it alone.

You see, I like to plant two kinds of seeds at one time.

The first kind is what you might expect. . .I have lemon cucumbers and zucchini and jalepenos and eggplant.  I have herbs and runner beans from England and heirloom pumpkins.  I have radishes and cabbages and beets (for my darling husband. . .yuck!).  I have crook-neck squash and potatoes and all sorts of dried beans and peas.  I have so many different plants that if half of them grow and half again produce, we will be living like kings by July.

And though I love growing and tending and harvesting my own foods, preparing them for now and canning them for later, there is something even more precious about the process:  the second kind of seed.

I've always given my kids a plot in the garden, or at least a pot on a balcony, no matter where we were living.  They chose their seeds, planted and tended them, and proudly harvested the fruit of their labor.  They then got to choose how to cook their treasures, doing all the work themselves.  From nestling a tiny seed in some soil through to bringing a dish of their home-grown produce to the table, our children have experienced every single part of the food cycle.

I've watched them debate for days, no, sometimes weeks, over what seeds to plant.  As they got older, elaborate and experimental plot layouts and farming methods were tried. I watched one daughter so zealous that she drowned her young seedlings in too much water and cried for a week until she realized we could re-plant and another child lay in a garden all day watching bean and pea shoots pop up from the soil in the warmth of the rare British sun.

Noah James is a precise gardener!
My kids have always loved vegetables, partially because they were always served from their youngest days, and partially because they have always been invested in the process.  I think that's important. . .to know how food gets to the table. . .to understand the labor and care and fun of bringing forth something from nothing but a tiny little speck.

So I always plant two kinds of seeds each spring. . .one is necessary to create a tangible harvest.  The other is necessary to bring forth a far more important one.

Both are very precious to me, but the latter most of all.

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