O you little packets of hope, can you preserve my sanity until the ground is “workable”? Can peas really be planted on St. Patrick’s Day? While all my friends carouse at the bar, I’ll be trying to convince myself it is completely reasonable to expect a seed to grow in the snow. March is a long way off, and Michigan’s last frost date is May twelfth.
Are you fucking kidding me? I’m supposed to wait until May twelfth to grow food? No, no, and again, no.
I already bought my seeds before Xmas, when Botanical Interests had a sale. I would like to shamelessly plug them despite receiving no discounts or free merchandise because they are a lovely little company based in Colorado who offer organic non-GMO seeds with the best seed-packet art ever printed. As I lay out my garden plan for next year and look at all the packets, I’m enthused and entertained by the prettiness of it all.
I am planning to engage in successional sowing, and am planning to lay out on graph paper the schedule for harvest dates and new crops so I can maximize my little tiny veggie plot. Last year there was fallow ground. This is anathema. I only have 283 square feet for food crops. I can’t waste an inch. Next time this year I’ll have kale growing where the akashiso used to be. Next year in summer I won’t forget I put the beets behind the tomatoes and say oh crap in August when they heave up all woody and impossible to eat. Next year I’m gonna farm some shit. Oh yeah.
Four to six weeks before the last frost date (between March 31 and April 14) I have plans to start rapini, spinach, radishes, mustard, and snow peas. All but the snow peas ironically will be harvested within a month, and then the chard, lettuce, beets, carrots, and herbs will begin. Um, I hope. This gets really complicated.
Because when I plant seeds and actually harvest food from them, they tend to be uncooperative or at least unpredictable. Plans fail while plants thrive. These little packets of hope I hold in my hand will become mischievous imps in the dirt, wreaking havoc with my graph paper plans. They’re so…naughty.
Seeds are sexy. Anything could happen.
They even have sexy names. “Monstrueux de Viroflay” spinach sounds like a man I’d get skanky with in a second. “French Breakfast” radish sounds deliciously post-coital. “Lolla Rosa” lettuce is a heroine from Fellini. We’re better off not talking about “Long Standing” cilantro. And “Black Seeded Simpson”? I think he was in Pulp Fiction, don’t you? Pretty hot.
I’m all jazzed up about seeds right now. Last year I didn’t have enough, and when my lettuce bolted I just watched it make strange flowers and get rattier and rattier. It was an educational experience, and a waste of space. The seeds never became ripe, and I accepted the fact that my garden is too small to let veggies go to seed unless I eliminate all ornamentals. When the zombie apocalypse arrives, I will allow seed to ripen and I will save it for future generations. But now, in the somewhat non-apocalyptic present, I will buy my packets from a catalogue and take unmitigated pleasure in imagining my garden-to-be and all the wonderful produce it will yield. I will imagine all the dinners on the patio and all the friends who will be invited.
You will probably be invited if you’re reading this. There is almost nothing more gratifying than giving away produce or serving a handmade homegrown meal to friends. Wish me luck for now, and I hope to see you in the summer.