Little Seeds We Sow in Spring
Little seeds we sow in spring
growing while the robins sing,
give us carrots, peas and beans,
tomatoes, pumpkin, squash and greens.
And we pick them
one and all
through the summer,
through the fall.
Winter comes, then spring, and then
little seeds we sow again.
– Else Holmelund Minarik
The garden is where I like to relax, unwind and explore, like every other gardener I know, the “happy soil”. With my hands embroiled in weeds or soil, I always end up happy, something I put down to the self-gratification that comes from a job well done.
This time of year always gets me excited. I’m not sure why but maybe it’s the thrill of growing plants from seed again. I really do get a great deal of pleasure from challenging myself to grow a large number of annuals and even perennials from seed.
What was exciting about this year’s start-up crop was the amount of growth I noticed so early on. For instance, there I was at the beginning of April, fresh snow all around, in the greenhouse! Kevin at T&T Seeds is my star; he is always so helpful and knowledgeable, and I might add, generous, too. Not having a greenhouse of my own he allows me to use a part of his to start my own crops.
Where did I start? Lablab purpureus, commonly known as the hyacinth bean, is an attractive quick growing plant that produces large foliage and clusters of orchid-like mauve flowers. Their seeds sprouted quickly; in just two weeks they were already well over nine inches in height.
Everybody’s favourite, the morning glory from the family Convolvulaceae, exploded out of the seed tray in days and is really looking like it will be a captivating treasure for my early morning tea and toast. What better way to complement the morning glory than with the moon flower, Ipomoea alba, a fast growing vine with huge white flowers that open at dusk toward the end of August – so nice to have a glass of wine in the evening and relax with their fragrance. Of course we cannot forget Datura vespertine, angel’s trumpet, flowering plants belonging to the family Solanaceae.
For spillers, the plants that tumble over the edges of my pots, I seeded wave petunia, wave pansies, lobelia, calibrachoa (million bells) that will make up some great cascading displays in the many pots that will be decorating the deck. Thrillers, the tall centre piece plants, are always something that we can have lots of fun with: purple fountain grass (Pennisetum setaceum), ornamental millet, elephant ear (Colocasia esculenta), the list is endless. For fillers I have a soft spot for dianthus, gazania, verbena, salvia, and geraniums.
Every home should have at least one or two tomato plants. Last year I grew a tree tomato, not too successfully, but I did keep some seeds and will endeavour to do better this time around. I have a spot just right for this large plant that produces huge dark red tomatoes. Along with this I also have Roma tomatoes and a not too well known Sunrise tomato. The Sunrise is a smaller than typical tomato but has a very strong flavour and is perfect in fresh summer salads.
April and May have passed and I am proud to say that this year’s endeavours have been successful; I have 44 tomato plants and my deck and garden are awash in colour.