Confessions of a Hose Dragger…
February has so much to offer! The month starts out with the unbridled anticipation and excitement of Ground Hog Day. What seasoned gardener is not on pins and needles anxiously awaiting the prognostications of a small weasel-like creature? This year our own Lafayette Larry may indeed predict an early spring. If so, thanks Larry! Be sure to check the Hoe & Hope Facebook page to see if Lafayette Larry sees his shadow or not!
The month continues to delight in abundance with such out-of-control festivities as Madi Gras and the Chinese New Year. And who doesn’t love Valentines Day? Forgetful husbands maybe? And then there is the patriotic celebration of President’s Day honoring Washington, Lincoln and perhaps someday Donald Trump? Just kidding about the Don…wanted to make sure I still had my audience!
With all this gaiety abounding, a surprisingly simpler celebration brings the joy of February to this humble manor – that of the planting of the seeds. With the coming of the fall harvest, seeds have been carefully saved and labeled. With the coming of the new year, sale seed racks were investigated and the best were culled for future planting. With the coming of the catalogs, colorful pages were pondered and absorbed, orders were thoughtfully processed with seeds arriving from across the ocean. It’s all a process… a wonderful, wonderful process! There may be possibly hundreds if not thousands of seeds patiently waiting for their moment in the sun in the basement. Soon it will be time to mix soils, fill the growing trays, plant the tiny seeds and start the journey. This year there are several new exciting tomato varieties to try. Included in the mix this year will be annuals. The award-winning Dragon’s Breath Celosia is a must have. The leaf color is so glorious that it may not matter if the plant blooms or not. Family Jewel seeds from South Africa must be started early in order for the seed pods that give the plant it’s common name to develop. Somehow the growing area in the basement fills up too quickly – there is always an overabundance. Last year over 200 tomato plants were started… and sadly, most of them lived! I’m kidding…I loved each and every one of them! It’s a good thing I had multiple gardens to plant all these little darlings and it’s a good thing I have lots of friends who garden and just love little tomato starts!
All this talk of seeds got me curious and since I always am looking for a great conversation starter when I am out and about with strangers, I wondered, what is the smallest seed? The largest? Well, thanks to the internet we needn’t wonder for very long! The smallest seeds in the world come from tropical orchids and weigh just 10 billionths of an ounce. The largest seed in the world is the coco de mer, the seed of a palm tree. It can reach about 12 inches long, and weigh up to 40 pounds.
With that answered I again began pondering… I know, how tedious of me, I really need to get a hobby… anyway, how did the word “seedy” become a disparaging remark? Once more, the internet to the rescue!
Originally “seedy” described something “fruitful” or “abundant”, but by the mid-18th century it had become a term of disparagement, meaning shabby, as in a plant that has “gone to seed”.
Well, how about that! Sigh, all this has left me thoroughly exhausted! It might be time to make the perfect Bloody Mary and go spend some quality time in the basement with all those wonderful seeds. Doing either one is sure to make a gardener giddy…doing both at the same time? Extraordinary!