Friday, June 06, 2008

Loathing and Envious Eyes

“Man designs for himself a garden with a hundred kinds of trees, a thousand kinds of flowers, a hundred kinds of fruit and vegetables. Suppose then, that the gardener of this garden knew no other distinction than between edible and inedible, nine-tenths of this garden would be useless to him. He would pull up the most enchanting flowers and hew down the noblest trees and even regard them with a loathing and envious eye.”
- Herman Hesse, Steppenwolf

I’ve tried to plant seeds into the ground. It’s too dry and too hot, or else it’s too cold and wet. Few survive. Also, there are too many predators interested in harvesting tender young shoots. Nothing grows except a few brave sunflowers protected by a fence of chicken wire. So, I’m back to planting seeds in starter packs. The envious eyes of birds, rabbits, and grasshoppers will be able to see what I’m doing, but at least the new sprouts will get sufficient water. Once they sprout, I plan to place a flat piece of chicken wire on top of the trays to preserve them from the envious while they are tiny.

Because I have such a failure rate, I often label my starts with “indelible” pen on popsicle sticks, thus not wasting my cool Brother “Electronic Labeling System” on the expensive metal stakes – those are reserved for survivors who make it into the actual garden. What often happens is that by the time the survivors are ready to transplant, their labels are too faded to read. But yesterday, I discovered a wonderful way to label starts without using the nice metal stakes or wasting non-fading label tape.

This year, Seed Saver’s Exchange packaged their seeds in bright yellow biodegradable plastic seed packets. By inserting the metal stakes into the bottom of the empty seed pack, I can then slide the pack up to the top and close the ziplock seal on top. This secures the pack to a metal stake that I can use as a temporary label. Once the seedlings are ready to transplant, I’ll dispose of the seed package and use the metal stake to hold a real label.

This may also, I hope, prevent me from pulling up enchanted flowers and whatnot by mistaking them for loathsome weeds.


titania said...

A visit into your plot. I think we have a similar climate mine is subtropical in Australia:) this is a good idea with the small plastic tag packets; recycling! I use the tags which are stuck into the pots. If they are big I can make three by cutting them up and write on the other side the name of the plant-cutting. I am not sure if they are biodegradeable, should be!

walk2write said...

Sounds like what you need is a good dose of Yeats to put your plantings in perspective:>)

Through winter-time we call on spring,
And through the spring on summer call,
And when abounding hedges ring
Declare that winter's best of all;
And after that there's nothing good
Because the spring-time has not come--
Nor know what disturbs our blood
Is but its longing for the tomb.

(from The Wheel)

kate smudges said...

I like those metal stakes ... good idea to use them with the seed packets.

What a quote from Hesse!