Life and death and life and…


I do a lot of filtering during sermons these days, but one Sunday morning this winter, maybe even Easter, I heard the words “A seed must first die.” A pretty good point, somewhat obvious, but I hadn’t thought of it before.

Our peas — probably seeds sprouting on the windowsill when I first heard that phrase — have long since died but I liked the variety we grew this year, so I rummaged through the browned vines for some hidden pods to save for next year. I once aspired to save all kinds of seeds and catalogued them in envelopes. I’ve simplified in recent years — I only save peas and beans because they have nice big seeds that come in their own container.

Musing about new life coming from this heatwave we’re currently in the middle of; fragile green sprouts that would roast in under an hour in today’s sun; and the short number of summers I have to plant and cultivate a garden, how next year I will do a better job. Or perhaps it was expressed more succinctly in Mad Max: Fury Road:



Starting from Seeds – Progress Report

We started a bunch of seeds way back in January, getting things going on the kitchen counter, and then moving them to the back porch. They stalled out on the back porch, so we moved them to the portable greenhouse hoping that some warmth would perk things up. You’ll see a photo from 3 weeks ago, and bunch from today, and you can indeed see that despite the miserable weather here in Seattle, the plants are thriving in there. Plus, the lettuce that Hannah and I planted awhile back is ready to start eating… starting with a salad or three from thinning the rows. (Look at how small the lettuce is in the background of the first picture).

A bunch of the plants are in pots made from newspaper (thanks ReadyMade magazine) and ready for the seedling exchange I’m going to in a few weeks. We have tons of tomatoes, peppers, and squash, along with a couple different kinds of cucumbers and some swiss chard; way more than we have room for.

{ 2 posts today because I always get excited when I see we’re being linked from somewhere… thanks to Trudy’s friend Emily for finding this one from Apartment Therapy’s Re-Nest. Onward and upward! }


Getting the Garden Going

It is such a tricky thing to judge here in Seattle when it comes to moving plants from the greenhouse to the garden. We heard horror stories from people last year who had plants in the garden first thing in April, and they languished in the awful weather until late June. We have some seeds going in the back, and the peas were the first to take off. We decided that it was time to move them into the garden this weekend, so they are the first lonely inhabitants of the front garden. We just got the soaker hoses installed, and we’ve got a nice layer of compost poured on top of that bed, so hopefully as long as the weather stays nice, they will do alright.

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Starting from Seeds

The days are getting longer and it’s time to start thinking about putting things in the ground (but not too soon, if last year is any indication). We had been talking about setting up some kind of seed starting operation in the basement under flourescent lights, when out of the blue my dad showed up with what he called his “economic stimulus plan.” That is to say, he got us a pop-up greenhouse.

So we’re in the seed starting business. Hannah and I started with a bunch of egg cartons, and planted the seeds we saved from last year. Now the question is if anything will come up. We’ll have to wait and see.

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Seed Saving

Last year we let a few of our plants keep on growing until they went to seed, and then saved them. They sat in boxed and old planting buckets for a few months, until one recent snowy day when I needed a project. I went through and pulled off the seeds, and I think they look pretty good. We have peas, beans, spinach, swiss chard, sunflowers, lupines, tomatoes, green peppers, anaheim peppers, and some volunteer leeks that showed up in the corner of the yard. I think that’s it.

We can’t tell apart the anaheim peppers and the green peppers, so that will be a surprise as to what we’re getting there. Alicia is sure that none of them will in fact grow, so we’ll just have to see. It will be time to start the seeds inside in the next couple months. In the meantime, if anyone wants swiss chard seeds, let me know.

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