Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Planting Seeds

Well, it's official: we've started some seeds for the garden. Only time will tell if we're too early or not, but with all the wheat growin' and pumpkin sowin' and hay harvestin' we've been readin' - oops - reading about in The Long Winter, we're all getting antsy for winter to be over already. And since we live on the Wet Coast and all, I know that even if we are a bit too early, it won't be a complete disaster. We might have a lot of rain here, but we don't have blizzards like they did in DeSmet, where Laura and Mary and Carrie and Pa lived and all that hayin' and seedin' and choppin' and burnin' went on.

So here is what the Little Homeschoolers in The Greenridge Chronicles did today:

We got some eggshells and some cardboard cartons. I had magically cracked every single egg in half (well, to FDPG and Dominic it was magic, so I'm stickin' with that), which meant that we could place a half shell in each pocket of the carton.

We got some dirt and the little fingers and spoons of Dominic and FDPG half filled each egg shell.

Then we got some seeds. This was more than slightly complicated as everyone had their favourite plants while I had a garden agenda (which meant that some of us had to compromise more than others). We settled on sunflowers for Dominic, because we want to grow a sunflower fort this summer and Dominic's favourite flower is a sunflower. I chose Autumn Beauty because it's tall and quite striking. If you've seen the Monet's Palette type, then this type is quite similar.

FDPG wanted a pumpkin, because her "No pressure Mum but..." agenda involves me making that green pumpkin and vinegar pie from The Long Winter, the one Ma makes to cheer up Pa. She also likes the idea that these are the "Cinderella" variety of pumpkin (Rouge Vif D'Etampes); FDPG likes things that involve enchanted shoes and fairies and magical things.

Max was not picky about what he planted, as long as it was something brave and complex (and totally different from what the twins were planting), so he and I planted my Tigerella tomatoes. We were going to plant the sweet peas I'd bought from my new and strange garden centre friend, but I'd forgotten to soak them first, so we couldn't. If you don't know this tip, try it sometime; it does seem to make a difference in their germination rates. So instead we soaked the sweet peas, planted the Tigerellas (don't think me too shallow, but I bought them solely on the merits of the name - I could just see those tomatoes roaring into my salsa), and some Bells of Ireland that FDPG was intent on growing because a) they are green and b) green is her favourite colour in the whole entire universe. Imagine buying seeds because they are green, I can hear you say, but wait! I didn't buy them because they were green and thus guaranteed to be a favourite with a certain high-maintenance little FDPG living in my house, oh no no no. I bought them because (dare I admit this?) they looked cool and weird and I am, I admit freely, attracted to the cool and the weird.

Anyhow, now our little egg cartons are nesting comfortably along the window seat. If you wanted you could bag them in plastic, but we didn't. I'm not in that big of a hurry. Not now that we've just got to where the coldest winter to beat them all just hit the Ingalls family...


Becky at Farm School said...

Planting seeds in February?! You don't qualify at all for a long winter, but I envy you!

Since yesterday we've had more snow and more wind. This is starting to get sorely trying. But the music teachers haven't phoned, so I guess lessons are still on for today.

I don't think buying tomato varieties (or any other seeds) is any different or worse than folks who buy wine based on the interesting label, tee hee...

I remember one year, I think before the kids were born, when we were slogging through a heck of a winter, and I started to read The Long Winter to my husband. It's a good reminder that things could definitely be worse, that's for sure!

sheila said...

I know, I am a Winter Weenie, aren't I. I tell you, I was ruined by our 6 years in SoCal. It was lovely not wearing socks or jackets. I blot out the parts where I missed living in the PNW, of course. A little artistic license...

I really feel for you, being in that cold weather. I hope your house is roomy and snug and warm - not like the Ingalls' place in DeSmet! Reading about those frost-covered nails in the ceiling of Laura's bedroom really brings things into perspective for me. It's been very good for my kids to see how tough some kids had it and how many chores they did. I feel slightly obsessed with the Ingalls, I have to say. I stare at photos of the family and try to see the people Laura described. It's interesting how rosy a view she had of her parents. She obviously had a lot of attachment to them.

I hope our seeds do well. Theoretically we are approx. 6-8 weeks from the last frost. Well, according to a quick glance at the Farmer's Almanac. I've never been one to grow many vegetables from seed, but with this being our first "homestead" I figured I might as well try some tomatoes. I'm even building a bean arbor and a berry trellis. And FDPG and I plan on entering some jams, pickles, and wine into the county fair this summer. I like your involvement with the 4H - that might be something we could do, too. We have a guinea pig...