Guest written by Intern Jane
It’s hard to communicate the significance of planting seeds. Even on the days you’re not feeling particularly in awe of the world, planting seeds is always magical. It has been my privilege to have been a part of getting thousands of seeds started in the greenhouse this season. Here’s a little look of the care and soul that is poured into every plant start we grow.
It began in January, with Reyna shuffling through the crop plan, and pulling stacks of seed packets out of the huge boxes that have been waiting patiently, protected from vermin, water and sun for a whole year. In the dead of winter, the exhaustion of the summer was just starting to be a memory instead of an all consuming reality.
The first day, we seeded just one redwood box containing 280 seeds. I could see Reyna’s brain retrieving information not used since last spring, showing me the little techniques that are so important to making sure each seed is moist, but not wet, and warm but not hot, covered, but not buried.
The next week when I returned, Reyna and Elizabeth excitedly showed me the tiny leaves starting to unfurl, beginning to shake off the soil sheltering them, and making the brave step past germination into planthood. The first sprouts of the season had emerged!
Every time I plant a seed, I hold my breath. Each seed is the hope of a new plant, not the promise. So much will happen to each seed from the moment we crack open a seed packet to its produce being enthusiastically appreciated. So many moments for mistakes, bad luck, and failure. And every time a seed germinates, and I see the first milestone step taken towards planthood, my heart explodes a little bit.
Since that first day, when seeding one redwood box took both our attention for 3 hours, the greenhouse has transformed immeasurably. The days are now warm, so great effort of many volunteers as well as farm staff is put in to ensure the now thousands of starts remain at the optimal temperature. The greenhouse is now packed with hundreds of vegetable varieties, covering all the tables with tiny forests of sprouts.
This past week, we seeded pumpkins and winter squash, plants that seem to have no right being around this early in the year, yet in we pushed the large seeds. And unlike the start, these squash were seeded in a symphony of people, each person doing one variety at a time in the bustle of a joyously busy volunteer morning.
We are almost done seeding for the plant sale next month. Soon, we will begin the next huge stage of the process; Transplanting. A daunting task, but one I look forward to immensely. The tomatoes are so large now, waving at me every time I walk by them, saying, “Hey, you, I don’t want to share anymore, give me my own pot!” In a couple weeks, we shall oblige.