Sowing seeds of hope
In my kitchen there is a table covered in seed packets and bits of paper with scribbled drawings of a so called ‘plan’ for the veggie patch. And, joy of utter joys; there are two heated propagators that look like they’re levitating above it all, coaxing the first shy seeds of the year to come out of their shell. I am as excited as an excited thing -if not more so – because spring is definitely in the air. Just as we begin to question whether or not we’ll ever see the long days of summer or be warmed by natures’ central heating system again, the fair maid of February (the snowdrop), lifts her head and we begin to see the vibrant glimmer of the brave forsythia, the crocus and the daffodil. They’re reassuring us – it’s going to be okay. Even the random chit chat of the sparrow and our faithful winter companion the robin, sound more hopeful.
As per usual I have over done it with the seed buying thing and no doubt will overdo it with the seed sowing thing too. Sowing seeds is addictive because it’s like casting hope, and I think you’ll agree, hope is a much needed commodity right now. There’s a promise of life and abundance to come in every seed plunged into the warming soil. It will grow, bloom and provide food for others. It will bring colour and cheer and a subconscious rhythm to our lives. Recently, I have spoken to some who, because of the ongoing responses to the COVID 19 outbreak, have lost their jobs; lost their income; lost relationships and are without a reason to get up every day. I know some of what they feel, having experienced those losses myself in different circumstances.
Without question, gardening is one of the things that has seen me through some very dark days. On a practical level, growing your own food is good for you physically – you get fresh air and exercise. It’s good for the environment as the food doesn’t have much of a carbon footprint, and you are improving biodiversity in your location. It helps economically, the food generally tastes much better, and is more nutritious. But most importantly, engaging in the activity promotes a period of time when you have to focus on something outside of yourself and your circumstances. It improves your mental well being. You get to marvel at creation and practice your own creativity. You get to nurture something which is a responsibility that in turn, improves your sense of purpose and esteem. Growing your own food gives you a reward for all your efforts as you make your contribution to the dinner table and pantry. What more can I say? You get to be as smug as a smug thing when you bring in your harvest – no matter how big or small.
It’s still too cold to sow outdoors but if you have a heated propagator or a heated greenhouse, you can start quite a number of veggie seeds, including tomato, peas, beans and cucumber, and you can ‘chit’ those seed potatoes! You can get a head start on dahlia tubers and other summer bedding plants such as petunia and busy lizzie. If you’ve never grown your own food before, maybe I can entice you into our world this year? After the one we’ve just left behind, we could all do with sowing ‘hope seeds’. Why not start with sowing cress to boost your confidence? Come on; come over to the bright side.