Seedy Thoughts
         growing plants from seed is where it all starts.  Here's some thoughts to ponder and tips to follow while you're in the potting shed this spring. 

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 Sowing Seed.  An Act of Confidence in New Beginnings.      "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 Thoreau, in 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 all.    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 far away.    But on a sunny late winter day while sorting through old seed packages, 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 ...  vine-ripe tomatoes for the August family picnic ... herbs for drying to flavour the family's favourite winter stew.     Last year's garden and the entire season ahead is all imagined seed in the palm of a hand.clearly in those quiet moments in the potting shed.   
Little peat pots 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.   The circle complete.   Life's connections refreshed.    Secrets,  dreams,  promises for the future and memories of the past  -  all wrapped up in the shiny coats on your fingertips.  
Sowing seed is an act of confidence in new beginnings, a bountiful future, and an 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.   Evelyn Wolf 

...from an article written for the local Era Banner, February 2001 
© Evelyn Wolf 2019.  All rights reserved.  Please contact for permission to use. 

An amusing piece, by Karl Capek, on the "best" potting soil mix for seed starting.  We'll all recognize ourselves in it!  Evelyn      
... 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.
potting mix ammendmentsTo 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 Loewer's delightful book, SEEDS. 






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