We went to a greenhouse skinning operation about a week ago, full of farmers helping the farmers of Upswing, owned by Brittany and Kevin, as they venture into their first season on new land. As always, when farm folk get together talk turns to joking about how many turnips are left in the root cellar (tons!), telling how strange it is to write yet another yearly post about CSA sign-up day, lamenting the dearth of experienced farm help, and sharing how unprepared they are for March 1, the date to seed onions in flats in greenhouses.
Across Massachusetts, farmers are sowing seeds in plastic trays with 98 cells and heating their greenhouses through what is hopefully the last cold spell so they can have spring onions. Next come brassicas and peas and greens, some flowers, and later they move onto the sunshiney crops we all crave: tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, beans.
Despite being married to a farmer, every Spring there are things I want to grow for myself. Thankfully not tomatoes — Seth delivers the goods when it comes to tomatoes. No, for my home garden it’s all about herbs and flowers. These plants are my friends and herbal allies, and I miss tending them. I want them so that in the winter when I’m tired of our four walls and cloudy skies, I can crack open my jars and relive summer.
I’ve decided to try out the winter sowing method because I don’t have a greenhouse. And even though we know enough farmers that I could probably borrow a tray’s worth of space, I want to do it myself. Today I sowed seeds in take-out containers gleaned from the recycling bin, cut slits in the tops and bottoms, filled them with soil and seeds, watered them, and set them outside. As it gets warmer, I’ll begin taking the tops off the containers so that the seedlings harden off and have room to grow, and when it’s time I’ll put them in the ground. Seems easy enough.
We have another seedling in the house, a little girl named Addie. Every morning I lay awake feeding her before the sun rises. I run my hand over her warm, sturdy back and I think ahead to weeding in the dirt with the baby on a blanket close at hand, or watching Seth ride by on a tractor and waving to us, or laughing together as Lily chases a s-q-u-i-r-r-e-l (we don’t say that word around here unless there’s one in sight). It’s amazing to me that Addie’s earthside and growing. She was the germ of an idea for a long, long time, and then she was a bump in this mama’s body. And now we’re in a new farm season, in our new home, with our new tiny human in our arms. Cheers to the promise of muddy knees and watching leaves unfurl. Cheers to chubby baby legs. Cheers to seed season.