Oh Goody! It’s the season for planting and planning in the Monastery garden. In parts of the country that have milder and wetter summers, spring is usually the time when the seed packets are opened and the beds prepared. With our dry and often searing summer climate, winter is the big garden season and fall the exciting entry point.
The rains are still a month or so away, but the plants can be started in the greenhouse. So we are planting seeds, lots of seeds. We tear open the little packets, pour some seeds into a cup, use a tweezer to transfer an individual seed to each cell in the planting frame. In a week or so they will sprout.
If we take this in – what we’re witnessing, what is going to happen – it is jaw-dropping, mind-blowing, miraculous. Most of the seeds we plant are tiny, like pinheads or coffee grounds. They are dry and dead-looking. They have been sitting quietly in envelopes sometimes for a year or two, doing nothing, just waiting.
We put them in a friendly medium and add water. Boom! Those dead-looking little guys have enough sustenance in them to power the plant into growth and support it until it can photosynthesize and support itself. That dry little scrap will become a sturdy Romaine lettuce; this one will be a basketball-size cabbage; this one will send up 18-inch leaves and form big juicy beets under ground. As fall and winter unfold the garden will burgeon with life and energy and nutrition; the beds will overflow with growth. We will keep planting and seeds will keep growing. It is wonderful and rewarding and exciting.
And just as wonderful, right now, is this magical moment of the first seeds, when we can hold nearly the whole garden-that-will-be in our two cupped palms.