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Some helpful articles scattered around the 40 or so
pages here -
Coping with the
dastardly Lily beetle.
Shrub Pruning Tips
Winter Garden Protection
Correct planting of
new trees & shrubs
Increasing Drought Tolerance.
Sowing Seed -
An Act of Confidence in New Beginnings.
Evelyn Wolf, Feb 2001
Though I do not believe that a plant will spring up
where no seed has been, I have great faith in a seed.
Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am
prepared to expect wonders
Henry D. Thoreau, from FAITH IN A SEED
What is it that is so
alluring about starting plants from seed? Buying starter plants in spring is much
easier after al!. Perhaps it's that it all starts here - in
those shiny little specks in the palm of your hand the promise that spring WILL come
and flowers WILL bloom again.
In the heart of
winter, spring seems so far away. But on a sunny late
winter day while sorting through seed catalogues and old seed packs,
worries of the moment fade quickly to thoughts of new plants to fill
gaps in the perennial bed ... cheerful flowers for the wedding bouquet
in July ... tomatoes for an August family picnic salad ... herbs for
drying to flavour the family's favourite winter stew.
Last year's garden and the entire season ahead is all imagined clearly in those
quiet late winter moments in the potting shed. Little peat pots are filled with
rich soil from last
year's compost pile ... planted up with seed perhaps passed on by a friend or
saved from year to year from your mother's garden ... and
given a little water to bring them to life. The circle complete. Life's connections refreshed. Secrets,
dreams, promises for the future, and memories of the past - all wrapped up safely in the shiny
coats on your fingertips.
Sowing seed is an act of confidence in new beginnings, a bountiful future, and
optimistic hope that our faith in some things still being simple and sure is not unfounded. When we have faith in a seed,
all seems possible.
. . . a funny
piece that we'll all recognize ourselves in, by Karl Capek, as excerpted
in SEEDS by Peter Loewer, on the
"best" potting soil mix for seed starting.
... some people say that charcoal should
be added, and others deny it; some recommend a dash of yellow sand because
it is supposed to contain iron, while others warn you against it for the very
fact that it does contain iron. Others again, recommend clean river sand,
others peat alone, and still others sawdust. In short, the preparation of
the soil for seeds is a great mystery and a magic ritual. To it should be
added marble dust (but where to get it?), three-year-old cow dung (here it is
not clear whether it should be the dung of a three-year-old cow or a three year
old heap), a handful from a fresh molehill, clay pounded to dust from old
pigskin boots, sand from the Elbe (but not from the Vltabva), three year old
hotbed soil, and perhaps besides the humus from the golden fern and a handful
from the grave of a hanged virgin. All that should be well mixed (gardening
books do not say whether at the new moon, or full, or on midsummer night);
and when you put this mysterious soil into flower pots (soaked in water, which
for three years have been standing in the sun, and on whose bottoms you put
pieces of boiled crockery, and a piece of charcoal, against the use of which
other authorities, of course, express their opinions) when you have done all
that, and so obeyed hundreds of prescriptions, principally contradicting each
other, you may begin the real business of sowing seeds.
Karel Capek, 1936, as it appears in Peter Loewers SEEDS