Planting Seeds: Babies in the Dirt

April 15 2009, 11:37 AM
On Sunday night I did a little in vitro fertilization that involved teeny cilantro seeds and peat pellets. I pushed seed after seed into the feathery dirt, stretching the peat back over them like a blanket. I did this again with the tomato and onion seeds, and watched them anxiously, as if they might start growing immediately. My boyfriend Patrick and I had just sketched a plan of our garden on a piece of ragged notebook paper, drawing squares to account for every inch of our community garden plot. There will be tomatoes and beans on the north side, lettuce on the south side, and peppers in between. We will have squash, okra, strawberries, and more spinach than God. (Deities love them some leafy greens.) If we bought all of these veggies as small plants, however, the costs could add up. So we're trying to grow some of our vegetables from seed. A seed packet is close to a dollar, and there are a ton of potential plants in each. I am very endeared to the seeds that are slower than others, the little guys that need a boost by starting inside. (In case you, like me, don't know which plants need to grow inside first, all you have to do is read the back of the seed packet. Phew.) Patrick and I got a tray of 10 tiny, dehydrated peat pucks from Home Depot ($10 total). You simply add water, and they swell out into small cylinders in which you can plant your seeds. After you drop a few seeds in each plot, you put it in a warm place away from light. (We braced it on old 12-packs of beer under the kitchen table near the heating vent.) As soon as the plants sprout, you move the mini-greenhouse to a sunnier location. Apparently, when they become tiny toddler plants, we'll take them from their wee plastic home to the garden. Currently growing indoors: Parsley, onions, cilantro, basil, serrano peppers, and tomatoes.

Seeds we'll plant in the plot: Broccoli, radishes, arugula (I'm liberal), spinach, mesclun, and peas.