Column – Little tiny seedlings can bring big hopesWho would ever think a little tiny seedling could cause a big nervous breakdown? By “little tiny” I mean almost microscopic – a seedling that resulted from several garlic-chive seeds I planted in early February.
By: Dennis Dalman, Alexandria Echo Press
Who would ever think a little tiny seedling could cause a big nervous breakdown?
By “little tiny” I mean almost microscopic – a seedling that resulted from several garlic-chive seeds I planted in early February.
In the spring of 2008 I spent – at commercial greenhouses – more than $300 for my garden plots. This year, I decided to plant seeds, on the advice of a sister who, last year, saved beaucoup bucks by starting, early, with the seed thing.
In late January I began ordering, via e-mail, seeds and seed-planter domes from a greenhouse in South Carolina. It’s hard to describe a planter dome. Anyway, they’re smallish “greenhouses” in which you plant seeds in peat-moss plugs inserted in Styrofoam forms covered by a clear-plastic dome.
If you’re a summer sun-lover like I am, it’s fun to put the seeds, one by one, shakily, into the peat plugs and then put the dome cover on, because you know it’s a guarantee – well, maybe – that you might live to see another summer. Hey, come on, ol’ doomlings, let’s have hope. We just might!
So you plant the seeds; you put those planter domes all over your house; then you wake up every snow-plagued morning and stumble from bed, eager to see if summer (or even spring) will, in fact, arrive. You check the greenhouse domes. Nope. Dead little nothings of dumb clumps of soil. Every day you do that, hoping those seeds you bought weren’t duds. You check with the humans. Winter-dazed, they’re duds, too. More disappointing, in some ways, than the seeds that won’t sprout.
Then, one magic morning (snowing again outside), you wake up and see green! Even in mid-February, you see a wondrous green.
Trouble is, the green promise is so darn tiny you’re afraid to breathe. The tiniest green you’ve ever seen. You peer squint-eyed at each peat plug. Yup! They’re growing – those parsley, those thyme, those chives, those geraniums. Maybe it’s just in the mind? Wishful thinking? No! You bend down again, squinting harder and – yes! – all be darned, there they are, growing, so slow-slow-slowly.
But the greenlings are so thin, almost invisible, they seem like skinny illusions, bound to die.
Winter mornings drift in and bury us. Our energies sag. We become disgusted with ourselves to think we ever thought these green-whiskers of plants, of promises, could ever amount to anything – much less hope.
This little planet Earth keeps hurrying around giant daddy Sun. Now, once again, it’s early April.
Little tiny plants respond to this cosmic coincidence, and the little hair-like ones begin to look like the somethings they are supposed to be. Amazing.
Time to transplant. I put them into Styrofoam Dixie cups. And that’s when the nervous breakdowns begin. Some seedlings are so tiny, so delicate, I dare not even breathe when I dig them up. I shake. I nearly faint. They tilt, they sag, their tiny roots dangle toward death. Oh, be careful! Long shaking fingers and clumsy thumbs will kill every one of them. Why bother?! You know they’re going to die, just like you. Just like me. It’s so nerve-wracking.
But you know what? I, too, have to keep reminding myself that those little, tiny, ridiculous-looking green seedling hairs (in February) turn into beautiful plants and flowers that can make us happy (or at least happier) in mid-summer. I know this because last year, weakling seedlings that were given to me burst into glory by mid-June. I calm down.
And, as in every spring, loved ones rejoice.
So, plant seeds and then hope. Get amazed once. Flirt with nature. Dance with it. Little tiny things can turn into big happiness.