It is February 20th and the early morning was filled with icy sleet and now we have wind and snow. The dirt filled,crusty snow banks that were melting the last few days are gathering clean white snow. The snow is filling in the cervices on the mounds, re building small piles on the solar lights on the deck and giving us enough snow to shovel so we don’t need to go to the gym for exercise. We are returning to the dark, cold feelings of winter and the white reflection of clean snow in the night. It is a mixed blessing. It looks beautiful but it is cold and we have been dealing with this since last November.
In my basement however are tiny green plants. The first of my seedling for this years gardening season. On December 30 I planted pansy seeds and tucked them away in my closet under the steps. A cool and dark place for the seeds to crack open their shells and begin this years growing cycle. It took the seeds about 30 days in this cool, dark and lightly moist soil to get started. They needed to be watch closely over that time so I noted on my calendar to check in with them every few days. I wanted to be sure they were moist but not wet and moldy. I also wanted to be sure I pulled them from the dark as soon as they sprouted. ( They quickly start stretching for light and get leggy if not moved early.)
On January 29th I pulled them out and put them under the grow lights. One tray of 12 packs of 6 growing cells. I put a clear cover over them to keep them moist as they sat under the lights. I also had the lights as close to them as possible. Again these little guys are seeking light now and I want them to grow leaves not long stems. We were still in the dark days of January.
By February 10th I was worried. They were growing but oh so slowly and some cells had no plants at all. Growing flowers is a long and slow process and I am a more hurry up sort of person. I continues to check on them, and watch the moisture level since I didn’t want them to dry out nor did I want them to mold.
Finally this last weekend on February 16th I transplanted these little guys into plant cells that were just a bit bigger and one plant per cell. They had been two or three tiny plants growing in a cell. I always plant three seeds per cell knowing that some will not grow. Indeed some did not.
I was concerned – why did they barely have leaves after all this time but as I carefully removed them to transplant, what I found below the surface was a beautiful and wild root system. These little pansy plants have been very busy growing a strong root system that will support them in the warmer weather and when they are ready to set flowers. They need a root system to provide nourishment over a long period of time.
Now on this wintery day there are rows of green plants. They are growing quickly – changing daily. I know it will still be a long time before we will have flowers. I am truly hoping they will be budding in mid April – that was my goal in planting so early. It takes a long time and lots of patience to grow flowers. Well, I would say veggies as well.
We want to see that green growth early, we want to see the results of our work right away but just like our children and students it all takes time. A strong and solid foundation needs to be laid down. The roots need to develop and strengthen before we can have green growth and flowers. We need to have patience.
This slow growth also helps me to understand why the pot of pansies at the garden center seems so expensive when the seeds are only a few dollars. It takes time and resources to sprout those seeds, months to get them started, lights, water and heat to make sure the plants are fooled into thinking it is spring. It takes re potting and caring for all those little seeds.
Growing anything takes time, care and focus. We need to remember that as we raise both our plants and your children. Time, care and patiences make for a lovely spring garden and great children.
Patience is what is needed!