The seed-starting paraphrenalia was hauled out of various storage closets on March 2 and the dining room hasn’t been the same since. After my husband, Kevin, helped me set up folding tables, re-assemble the lights, track down missing trays and plug in the surge protector, I joyfully set to work — sorting varieties by start date, marking the calendar, wetting the “dirt,” sterilizing and filling the trays, labeling the tags, turning on the lights, setting the temperature gauge and finally laying down seeds.
So much hope and promise infuses these initial tasks of the season. I have yet to forget to water my charges or angst over poor germination. No drought. No damaging winds. No late frosts. No pests.
Everything’s still possible.
It’s a heady time.
Now, a mere eight weeks later, we have trays brimming with young basil (Genovese, lemon, lime, Thai, dark opal and cinnamon), tomatoes (San Marzano, Roma, cherry and delicious), sweet peppers (yellow and red Italian, rainbow bell and Cal Wonder), hot peppers (jalapeño and poblano), herbs (parsley and marjoram), celeriac, tomatillos, and companion flowers (coneflowers, marigolds, yarrow and lemon beebalm.) All steadily growing and gaining strength before they’re moved to the unpredictable Great Outdoors.
Morning and evening, I track their progress and share updates with Kevin, occasionally dragging him over to see the first true leaves on the tomatoes or first buds on the marigolds. We especially enjoy brushing our fingers across the tray of basils — all those scents mingled together is a rare perfume.
Checking on the seedlings, watering them, transplanting them to individual cells, adjusting the lights all provide a daily antidote to the lingering winter blahs, living proof that spring is on its way.
And, to my delight, outside, it has finally sprung.
Joining the riot of daffodils bobbing and dancing by our front stone wall are pale green baby leaves on a variety of berries, swelling buds on peach trees and lilacs, brave lily stems boring out of the ground and crazy cilantro bursting with new life. The rhubarb is up. The pansies and violas are blooming. The broccoli transplants are standing tall. The peas, which took their sweet time, are finally poking out of the soil. And, today the almond tree started blooming.
So much hope and promise infuses these initial signs of spring.
It’s a heady time.