We're expecting single digit temps overnight. My partner Z is wrapped up in not one, but three blankets on the couch, and I have turned on the heat in my office for the first time in a month. The weather may not realize that winter is over, but in my mind it's a thing of the past.
Back in February I dusted off the grow lights, poured some potting soil and planted some seeds. This was admittedly early, but I had two good reasons. One, was that I wanted to know if the seeds I had left over from last year were still any good. Many of them weren't. The second reason was less practical; I was ready to see growth! Life! Green!
Turns out I wasn't the only one. Jenna Woginrich over at the ColdAntlerFarm blog was eager for green too. She announced The Cold Antler Farm Snap Pea Challenge (click the link to see her great graphic). The challenge is simple. Anyone who wanted to join just had leave a comment on her blog and plant some peas on the 12th. The benefit (aside from the excitement of seeing that first millimeter of green emerge from the earth) is that you get to compare progress and methods with everyone else who joined in.
So here goes:
Planted: Amish Snap Peas from Seed Saver's Exchange. SSE and Annie's Heirloom Seeds are my favorite sources for seeds since they keep the old non-patented seed varieties going. I've read that the West Concord library branch has a seed library for patrons. Isn't that a great idea? When I make it over there I'll tell you all about it.
Soil: Commercial potting soil. I would have added compost, but mine is still frozen.
Light: Grow light. I have it on roughly 12 hours a day, but I'm not precise about it.
First Signs of Life:roughly a week after planting
Today roughly half the seeds I sewed have sprouted. The package didn't give any information about peas' preference in terms of moisture, so I've been watering daily. I have a spay bottle and I also pour water into the tray under the seed pots.
Those are the facts. Those are what I capture in my gardening log, with an aim of having something to look back on in the future. Those have nothing to do with what I love about gardening. Each year I take notes on what I do and what happens as a result, but whether it's the way I take these notes or simply that I'm not all that interested in the science behind gardening, I haven't managed to turn those notes into anything useful. Instead, I take photo after photo of each plant's progress, like the proud parent of a newborn. No one else sees anything worth grinning so widely about, but I smile at the way all plant chutes start out the same verdant chartreuse, the way peas come up looking like question marks that slowly unfurl into certainty as they reach for the sky, and the way tomato plants fill the room with scent as strong as any rose.
Unless I learn to delight in the soil and light needs of my various plants, I will never really progress as a gardener and get the vegetable yields I hope for; but for now I'm happy playing the part of proud plant mama.