Monday, May 2, 2011


It’s a four-hibiscus day. But those lovely red blossoms brighten our dining room windowsill. Not that I’m not grateful our hibiscus plant bloomed its little hothouse heart out all winter. But it’s May now, and I’m eager for outdoor things to bloom. I’ve been running outside twice a day and bending down really low to stare at crumbly black dirt—as if that will magically activate X-ray vision to see seedlings beneath the soil. My attempts to see green have been almost fruitless, but now I do have some numbers to report. 

  • ·         Five sugar snap pea seedlings are now up. Their cute little round heads have not uncurled yet, but I can see the backs of their necks.
  • ·         One carrot seedling is up.
  • ·         Two shallots have appeared.
  • ·         Countless lettuce and spinach seedlings have sat right at ground level for weeks. I’m not sure what they’re waiting for. Maybe they’re tired of my staring at them and want me to lead them in a cheer.
  • ·         One grape hyacinth flower bloomed this year in what was a blue sea of blooms last year.

I walk a fine attitude line. If I dwell on the ratio of seedlings to seeds planted—about one or two to 24—I get discouraged. But if I put it out of my mind or blow it off—oh, well—I won’t be a productive gardener. Somewhere in the middle of those extreme attitudes, I will muster up the faith to count the days of normal germination time for each type of seed and go back out there to try again. There’s still time to plant more cool-weather-crop seeds.

My only really exciting statistic is that the romaine lettuce seeds bought at and harvested from Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello last summer are almost all up now. That would be 12 seedlings … but who’s counting?

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