lessons learned: seed starts and waiting

If you read this blog occasionally, you know that one of my mantras is “just be.”  I find in life there are many lessons I learn around this simple but profound phrase, and typically, it is Nature that serves as my best educator.

Last night, as I checked on the seedlings on the deck, I reflected on my seed starts of years past.  I usually crave the idea of new life round about January and make an afternoon of planting anything that can be started indoors.  It fills my spirit to observe and nurture Life as she invites her way out of the darkness and into the light.

tomato seed starts 15

What I have found, however, is that sometimes, starting seeds in January is too early.  Because I am not scientific about it, I create the optimal conditions in my home to pretend it’s spring or summer.  My style is more of a “wait-and-see,” yet then, I admit, feel a sense of disappointment when particular varieties of veggies never take off or don’t produce once transplanted.

This year, however, has taught me a thing or two about seed starts and the importance of waiting.

With all of the remodeling hullabaloo going on in our home this past winter, my first round of seedlings did not fare well.  The greenhouse was moved around our home so that plants never had consistent lighting.  A couple of the containers ended up on the floor after a dog chase that ended in using the greenhouse as a back stop.  And then the icing on the cake–forgetting to tell our pet sitter about the tender starts while I was out of town for a week.

It all ended in a sad mess.  The first time in 5 years.

And so I waited.

Waited until I had the opportunity and time to appreciate the process.  Waited until both Nature and I could adequately nurture the small seeds.

Last night, I looked around the small farm that is transforming before my eyes.  Seeds sown by the hands of girls I mentor are sprouting into snap peas, radishes, carrots, greens, and beets.  The starts on the back deck delight in the warm afternoon sun and assure me that we will enjoy our own tomatoes, cabbage, peppers, herbs, and early beans.  Our little suburban farm is flourishing far beyond any expectation I conceived and any Spring season we’ve had in the last 5 years.

lettuce starts 15

I didn’t do anything any differently this go round.  Except wait.

I am filled with wonder, and gratitude, at this lesson learned.

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