Sunday, March 27, 2011


i have difficulty pronouncing words, which is probably why i have trouble spelling. It's even worse when i'm anxious. so, my first week at the farm, i constantly mispronounced germination. instead i would say germate. why did this word make me so anxious? because for my first week here, I was to be responsible for the germination of about 200 seeds. why the thought of germinating 200 seeds made me anxious when i was going to be handling close to 10,000 seeds for the entire season is a bit baffling in hindsight, but that may have had something to do with denial. for the 200 seeds in question, it was to be a seed test. did the seeds collected from last season have a high percentage of germinating this season? that was the test. However, this "seed test" really felt like the "intern test". My frazzled nerves would ask, "If the seeds failed to germinate, would we all be tossed onto the compost pile?" I had to admit, the thought had me germating all over the place.
I have grown things from seed before. But in moments of high anxiety, any knowledge a priori seems to fly out the window. And if there is ONE thing i always seem to remember, it's that worry trumps experience.
You should have seen me. I spent days draped in worry, pouring over the "The Gardener's A-Z Guide to Growing Organic", "Seed to Seed" and "The Garden Primer" to get the directions just right. When all of the seeds were set up as per everyones directions, I was totally dissatisfied. My internal gardener pushed me to start again. It took me two days to finally realize that these books were making it all too complicated. Then I remembered Snaps!
Sugar Snaps! Do you remember him? The frog in the turtleneck and baseball cap? Snaps once offered a seed starting kit. It was a clear, plastic box (the size of a ring box), a gray sponge and some seeds. You wet the sponge, put it in the box, placed the seeds on top of the sponge, closed the lid and let the seeds sprout. I didn't need published gardeners telling me how to do it. All I really needed to do was tap into my Saturday morning, sugar coated youth. Well okay, all I really needed to do was chill out. But hey, it's been two weeks, the seed test is complete, germination was successful, and i'm still here. Thanks Snaps!
Now onto onions.
Apparently, starting onions from seed is rather difficult. AND, this is now THE REAL THING! dun, dun duuuun! Everything i just learned from the seed test - out the window. Sigh.
I'm starting off with three varieties: red baron, valencia and mustang. i've started with 172 of each variety. it's been three days, and i've changed the growing medium twice (remember, fear trumps knowledge...and short term memory apparently). but i'm back on track. instead of living in the cellar under grow lights, the cells are now upstairs in a comfy 70 degree room, under dark plastic. fingers crossed. later today and tomorrow, i'm starting broccoli, kale, beets and coriander.
temperature check for reynoldsville, pa: freezing with snow on the ground and more snow predicted over the next couple of days.
Tune in tomorrow for the tale of "Whitey and the Dull Blade" :o(

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