seeds and soil

This morning, I went to water the few remaining trays of seedlings in our greenhouse and discovered that a mouse had eaten some of my precious late sprouting watermelon plants. I had been covering the tray to keep them out, but forgot in the rush of a late bedtime the night before. Darn.mouse

It never seems to be less than a miracle when a row, a tray, a pot of seeds germinates and thrives.

The process inspires me over and over again.

Seeds are like thoughts.

They can be potent and powerful and ready to sprout and grow into something. Thoughts like that easily translate into action. I love those kinds of thoughts. Sometimes thoughts, and seeds, get stale and grow more slowly. Some seeds naturally take a long time to sprout. And some thoughts are like weed seeds. In fact, a lot of thoughts grow into weeds. If left unchecked, they take up valuable space and hinder our progress. Clearing them out is necessary work if we are to have a productive and beautiful garden, and life.weed

But it isn’t just the seed that matters. There’s the growing medium. The potting mix. The soil. The ground. Is it fertile enough to maintain the growth of our seeds? Are there harmful diseases, bacteria, and fungus that will infect the seedling and hinder its life?

Soil is like attention.

Thoughts alone are not the mind.  Seeds alone don’t make plants.

No analogy is perfect, but bear with me.

We start our small seeds in soil blocks. This allows us to germinate thousands of seeds on a small folding table indoors. It gives us a little more time to nurture the seedling’s early environment before sending it outdoors. But there have been times when things have gone wrong.

We scramble to narrow down the possibilities. Did we let the blocks dry out too much, or did we keep them too wet? Are the seeds old and losing strength? But we’ve learned now that it’s often an imbalance in the potting mix. (See? It’s not usually the seed’s fault.)

Like soil, if our attention is not strong and balanced, we will have a hard time maintaining a healthy stream of thought and bringing it to fruition. We need focused attention to hold the root firm, but enough breathing room to allow both root and stem to expand and grow. How easy is it to pull a plant out of sand? How hard is it to uproot a dandelion from clay?

It is not always easy to hold attention in one place, to keep directing it where it belongs. In fact, it’s quite difficult sometimes. Distractions are endless. It’s like feeding the soil, and cultivating. It’s a continual effort, and there are ups and downs. Each season, each day, each breath is different. Each is an opportunity.

I’m feeling fortunate this morning, that there are more watermelon seeds, waiting to be planted. There’s also a good batch of potting soil made up, ready to support them. Sunlight, rain, the coming summer all these companions make life so possible, so good.watermelon

May the works of our lives bear sweet fruits this season. Like watermelons.

5 thoughts on “seeds and soil

  1. As a seed saver of 50 years ,I really enjoyed this post . My starting techniques are different and tuned into my garden style but basically you really have explained the rhythyms . Before we built our passive solar recyled greenhouse, we started our plants inside the house too. I still germinate everything in flats stacked behind the woodstove , before moving them out to the greenhouse. I am just now getting the last on my neglected seedings into the ground along with all the other chores of the day . One real treat I saw today while clearing fencelines and digging out invasive thistles in the pasture…. I spotted a little fawn so still in the grass on the edge of the woods . I walked within a foot of it and said hello . I will go back with my camera to see if I can get a photo to share . Baby chicks are hatching under a setting hen,baby silver fox rabbits are so adorable…. little treats that give joy to the often grueling work in the heat and humidity of days like today …

    • what a great story sharon – thank you for your kind comments always. i will be so happy to see the greenhouse empty. of course, then it will fill up with onions that need to be dried, but that’s just fine. hearing you talk about your seed saving endeavors at the BD conference down here some years ago inspired us. keep up the good work, the good life. life is a beauty, isn’t it?

      • Yes.. life IS a beauty ! I will be visiting the Irish seed savers exchange when I go to Ireland this summer with my son. I hope to bring back more diversity to my gardens ,and visit several farms. Check out my Sharon’s Natural Gardens facebook page for photos of the fawn and today as well as the Irish group. I plant and transplant things into my greenhouse tubs in the fall and eat out of there all winter . In the spring ,I let the plants in the tubs set seed and put my flats of seedlings on suspended wire racks hanging down from the roof to make optimal use of the space . They are serve as drying racks after that.

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