Feeling and Seeding Spring

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seeds-parsley-radish-transBy Heidi Lewis

Why is it that in spring we have that hankering to get our hands in the dirt? That urge to plan and to plant; to go to the nursery and load up our wagons with little pots of promise for a great summer garden. It must be some ancient gene or a biochemical switch. Or maybe we’re just eternal optimists.

In a toast to spring this week, The FruitGuys has included something special: seed packets. If you haven’t grown seeds since elementary school, it’s a simple and rewarding activity.

Italian Flat Leaf Parsley Seeds
Italian flat leaf parsley is flavorful, aromatic, and super nutritious. It’s easy to grow in the garden or in a windowsill planter. In 70–90 days, you can snippety-snip the leaves for an ultra fresh addition to your cooking. If you plant it outside, you can let the last of the plant go to seed, and it will return next year.

Cherry Belle Radish Seeds
Cherry Belles are the bright-red spherical radishes. Classics. Best suited for planting outdoors, you can plant a new section of these every two weeks (what the farmers call “succession”) to harvest continually through the summer. To test for readiness, feel around the root for the hard radishes, or pluck a test case.

The seed supplier, High Mowing Seeds, is a great organization. Grown from the ground up, the company started as a little germ of an idea in founder Tom Stearns’ backyard and blossomed into a respected national seed distributor of organic, non-GMO seeds. In 1999, High Mowing made a pledge in coalition with nine other seed companies to grow safe, non-GMO seeds. Currently, more than 70 companies have signed the pledge. They contribute to their local Maine community and beyond by offering classes, produce, and seed donations to school gardens, food banks, and disaster relief. Good growing, High Mowing.

We hope growing veggies from seed will be fun and that you enjoy your “couldn’t get more local if it bit you on the nose” produce.

How To Grow Your Seeds

1. Choose your place. The seeds you’ve been given can be sown directly into outside soil. Prepare a sunny spot with fertile soil. Or start seeds inside containers on a sunny windowsill to transplant later.

2. Choose a container. Seed trays with separate cells make transplanting easy. The ol’ cardboard egg carton method is fine, too.

3. Choose soil mix. A sterile soil mix is ideal to give seeds the best start. If planting outside, lay down potting soil. Soil should be moist, but not soggy, and gently tamped down to eliminate air pockets.

4. Use correct depth. The back of each seed packet lists recommended depth—about twice the size of the seed. E.g., an 1/8-inch seed should be placed under 1/4 inch of soil. Make an indentation with your fingertips, place 1–2 seeds, then cover gently with soil.

5. Water. Misting is sufficient, but don’t let the seedbed dry out. Big glugs of water will wash your little seeds away.

6. Thin and transplant. Once your little shoots pop out of the soil showing two leaves (the cotyledon stage), the hardest part is thinning—pluck out competing seedlings so strong ones have an inch or two of room around them to grow. When they’re two inches high with a few strong leaves, you can “harden” them by placing them outside during the day for a few days so they get acclimated. Then gently scoop shoots out, or pop them out of their cells, and place in prepared soil.

7. Maintain and harvest. Make sure soil stays damp (not wet), remove any weeds, and when ready, harvest the goods!

 

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