Ready, Set, Grow!

I don’t know if my seeds are as anxious as I am to start the growing season, but I sense that they are. After all, sitting in a freezer for months could test the patience of even a dormant seed – there must be a tiny hope of growth within. Then again, reading this verse from Rumi gave me another thought:

“Again our green-gowned ones have gaily arrived from beyond the world swift as the wind, drunken and stalking and joyous.”  (From the poem What the Flowers  Said)

Maybe they haven’t been locked in the chamber of the seed coat after all – maybe their spirits slipped out  through the tiniest of passages, learning the lessons of joyousness the whole time. And now, water and warmth calls them back. Whatever the mystery of their travels, I’m looking forward to some drunken, stalking, joyous new sprouts.

The most drunken new plants are definitely the young tomatoes. I tried to select varieties that are beautiful and practical. This is my lineup for 2010:

1. Pruden’s Purple – a great grower last year with a rich taste

2. Sungold – fantastic taste in an orange cherry tomato

3. Black Cherry – a new trial for a red cherry tomato

4. Green Zebra – curiosity took over for this new try

5. Striped Cavern – more curiosity

6. Principe Borghese – Italian! Its got to be good!

I also start peppers in late March. We don’t eat that many, but I grow them anyway, in the event that I suddenly find lots of fantastic recipes. The garden is hard pressed to outdo peppers for sheer beauty and ease of growth. Here’s the pepper list:

1. Joe’s Long Cayenne – for drying and making flakes

2. Round of Hungary – pimento type – we love them fresh

3. NuMex Joe E. Parker – thick skin slips off easily after roasting, freezes well

4. Lantern – very hot, saved seed from last years crop

5. Ancho Poblano – great rich flavor when dried

6. Red Cherry – new to me – sweet, small, round, red (they say)

I’m also planting my standby eggplant, Orient Express hybrid. I’ve learned not to stray too far afield with eggplant in Michigan. This one is very reliable.

Hollyhock flower seeds are going in too. They seemed good in January. And lemon grass -for tea maybe – an experiment.

All these seeds are started in small 4 or 6 pack trays filled with a potting soil I make consisting of 1/3 spaghnum peat (moistened), 1/3 compost, and 1/3 expanded shale (like coarse sand). Perlite could be used instead of the expanded shale. (More about expanded shale later.) I toss in nutrients from the assortment I keep on hand:  alfalfa meal, greensand, kelp, a 9-6-0 bonemeal put out by Miracle Gro (Organic Choice), and guano if I’m lucky. I add a little dolomite lime/gypsum combination for calcium. I like the fact that gypsum has sulphur.

I am planning to get all these seeds planted before we leave for Houston on Thursday (thru next Tuesday). They, along with our four cats will be Home Alone.  I’m hoping most of the seeds will be up by the time we get back.  I like the thought of things happening while I’m gone – like making money while you sleep – but I’d rather make plants…….

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