spring planting season

I have never been so acutely aware of planting season as in this year during which I am not planting. Seeing the most fabulous by-the-moon planting day come and go Monday left me anxious and jittery, to tell the truth. When that happens I back off one notch from literal and do something related but vicarious like sending seed to someone ready to plant or consulting with a new seed grower.

seedrackI dropped by Dave Smith’s back-corner post office at Mendocino Book Company in Ukiah to give him a printed-out list of the seed packets I brought in last week (That’s a picture of the homemade seed rack – another rack can be found at Weathertop Nursery in Laytonville). He took one look at the inventory list and said, “I guess you’ve got a lot of time on your hands now.” Dave carried Laughing Frog seeds at his now-retired Mulligan Books and Seeds, but somehow we managed without ever writing anything down. Usually at least one of us would remember what was what, and if not we laughed about it and improvised. It was lovely. As is this current phase in which I have time to make fabric seed racks and keep track of details like what tomato is the most popular (the answer to that so far this year is Greek Asimina, closely followed by Cherokee Chocolate).

For me the key to peace of mind this spring lies in accepting the gifts I’m being given, in bringing my attention back to those gifts every time I wander into the territory of loss. I love consulting with gardeners and farmers about growing for seed, I’m happy to be able to share the seed for great varieties I’m not growing this year – and, full disclosure here, I do have a tiny garden, right now mainly of transplanted Japanese Bunching Onion, and the year-old plants are sending up flower stalks this week.

If you’re reading this and want some encouragement or information about growing a vegetable variety for seed this year, you know I’ve got the time…