This is how the summer harvest begins – palms blackened and dirt clinging to cuticles.
It is a humble inception and one most never see. But, assisting with seeding at Restoration Farm has become a regular pre-spring ritual for me. It’s dirty, but it’s a signal that no matter how uncertain the times, some things remain constant. Eventually, spring will arrive and seeds, soil, sun and water will produce food.
Seeding is the start of something delicious. As always, Head Grower Caroline Fanning is scrupulously organized with detailed directions on which flats get which variety of seeds.
On Saturday, our assignment is to seed 21 flats with beets and scallions. I like seeding beets, because I enjoy holding those bright purple orbs in June, knowing I played some part in their birth. The team includes Susan Salem, Donna Sinetar, Judy Stratton and me.
We use our index fingers to dimple the soil, and then count out seeds one-a-at-a-time into the holes. It is painstaking work but with a group, the job moves quickly.
Caroline takes us to the greenhouse, where scallions seeded earlier in the month are already sprouting. There is a smattering of green accenting the flats of soil.
The flowers at Restoration Farm are a feast for the eyes. By midsummer, the cutting garden is a canopy of color. It all starts with seeds, some no bigger than a grain of sand. We reconvene on Sunday, and this time the team is Donna Sinetar, LuLu McCue and me. We prep the flats again. After a point, your finger joints can get a little stiff. You need sharp eyes for seeding microscopic flower seeds, but with focus we complete 28 flats.
Ada does a pretty good of seeding, too. Rumor has it she is planting lollipops, which sounds pretty tasty to me!
We conclude the weekend of seeding with a potluck soup and bread lunch. LuLu is a soup chef extraordinaire, and serves up a rich, delicious lentil soup chock full of legumes, greens and orecchiette pasta and flavored with pancetta.
It’s paired with a loaf of whole-wheat cottage cheese dill bread from my kitchen.
We can almost taste the fact that spring is just around the corner…
©2013 T.W. Barritt All Rights Reserved