by Charlene Burgi
The past two weeks we talked about seeds and the care for seedlings. It wasn’t until this past weekend that I realized we didn’t talk about the choices we must make when picking out what to plant. This realization came to light as I took my 92-year-young mom to the nursery to pick up items to plant in her veggie garden. Her list included tomatoes, zucchini, beets and lettuce, among others. The question was which varieties she should purchase.
Rummaging through the multiple varieties of seed packets, she found the back of the packets provide information such as when to plant seeds, best soil temperatures for germination, and length of time from germination to fruit. She could extend her production by choosing seeds with various dates of maturity. For example, Early Wonder beets are perfect for spring planting, and Detroit Reds should follow in summer. In this case the Early Wonder seeds require a cooler temperature, which is perfect for this time of year. Tomatoes also have a huge window of time and condition for fruiting. This would be important knowledge for those of you living in a fog belt. A wise gardener will read the information before making a selection. And remember most vegetables are annual, which means they only produce for one season.
Annuals are amazing. They are like shooting stars. In what seems like a flash in time they produce an abundance of fruit and flowers. During that season we admire their fast growth as they fill in the voids of our garden. We reap their harvest by picking the fruit they bear or adorn our homes with the flowers’ glorious color. We admire the beauty they bring to us. Annual flowers can take our breath away with their brilliance, or they can bring peace and calm as we gaze at them after a long day at work. At the end of the season, they fade away, but often leave their seeds behind to carry on in the spring. We hold on to their memories by perusing garden catalogs to get us through long wet winter days and cool springs. As time passes, we can marvel again as the gifts left behind by last year’s annuals begin to emerge, bud and bloom.
Sometimes people come into our lives for a very short season as well. They touch our lives in a fashion much like our annual plants. They come with brilliance, beauty and bearing amazing fruit to be shared by all they touch. This writing is dedicated to such a person. Lynn Hulme Florey, who worked in water conservation for MMWD and then for the Sonoma County Water Agency (SCWA), passed away on April 8th. I was blessed to be able to work with her on several joint projects between MMWD and SCWA. She touched my soul as she did the souls of others who knew her. She left her gift to us — a path to follow that carries the memories of her boundless energy, compassion and love, but most of all — the bounty of memories to be cherished.
Gardener to gardener — the seeds we plant are often left in the heart.
Have a great weekend.