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Season of the Seed

For those of us who tend a garden, Spring is the season of the seed.  The liminal space between what we imagine will be and what the harvest actually brings.  This is the season of time spent in my small seed starting greenhouse, gently placing seed after seed into their first homes in a seed tray.  I give them water and warmth.  I believe in them to grow into who and what they will become.  When I hold in my hand the life force of thousands of plants to come, I feel humbled and responsible for each and every one in my care.

 

Right now I'm excited about Early Mona Spinach and Cinnamon Dyer's Coreopsis. I was first attracted to Early Mona Spinach because of the name. I was reading the epic Boudica series of books by Manda Scott about the last stand against the invasion of the Roman Empire in the British Isles over 2000 years ago. Boudica was a Celtic Queen and woman warrior who united the tribes of Britannia against the final push by the Romans to colonize their lands. They lost and the Romans won. Christianity wiped out the land based spirituality and the world has been forever changed. In the books, Mona is the small Island where Boudica lived off the coast between what is now Ireland and England. She was a real woman and these events actually happened, but the details are imagined by Scott. She does an amazing job bringing the realities of daily life in my ancestral homelands to life. When I saw Early Mona Spinach seed for sale by the Irish Seed Savers Association I felt a sense of connection to that part of my ancestry and was all over them. I grew them here on the farm for years and have come to love the spinach as well as I love the books. The smooth tasty leaves, the quick Spring germination, and the ability to hold into the frosty Fall are all reasons I decided to grow a seed crop and offer them to you!




 

Cinnamon Dyer's Coreopsis has a less dramatic story but I love them all the same. I am taking a Pollinator Certification course with the Pollinator Partnership and I am learning so much about the life cycles and habitat needs of our treasured pollinators. Coreopsis is one plant that makes it on to most of the Pollinator Friendly Garden plant lists for several reasons. It has a wide range of native habitat and therefore attracts many of our native pollinators. In the Pacific Northwest they attract many of our hundreds of species of native bees even though they are not technically a native plant with a specialized native pollinator. They provide a buffet of pollen and nectar while inhabiting a gentle, whimsical, meadow-y feel to them in the garden. They are also amazing natural Dye plants and are used both fresh and dried in bundle dyeing, flower pounding, and making dye baths. This variety is more burgundy with yellow undersides rather than the typical yellow, which I just seem to prefer for some reason.  






The sun is shining this weekend and our soils will begin to warm. Find your seed stash and ready your beds. But don't go nuts and plant everything now! Spring is a gentle awakening...take a lesson from the earth and take it slow.

 

Successful seed sowing and transplanting is mostly about soil health and timing. When we work with the proper temperatures- both soil temperatures and air temperatures-for the seeds we want to sow and plants we want to plant, we will have more success. Seeds respond to the SOIL temperature rather than the air temperature so even thought it will be warm this weekend, we have a ways to go before the soil warms up. I use a soil thermometer to keep track and find it helpful. I also consult my

Maritime Garden Guide often and use it as a guide for when to sow in the ground and when to start seeds indoors to transplant.

 

 We are currently about four weeks away from our last frost date of April 15th. This opens up a new window of seeds that can be sown directly in the soil- spinach, arugula, coreopsis, bunching onio



ns, nigella, larkspur bachelor buttons, and more! Even though we are now in US Plant Hardiness Zone 9a instead of 8b because our average temperatures have gone up 2 degrees, we still inhabit the same first and lost frost averages and I still hold April 15th as our most reliable Potential last frost date. These four weeks will go quickly and we will be able to sow most things outdoors soon enough.

 

Unfurl slowly like this rose taking her time. Take Care out there, xoxo Jen






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