I was looking for one of the sisters, and my search led me into the “seed rooms” down the hall. That’s the seedling nursery, and there has been a lot of activity in there lately. Thanks to the length of our growing season, combined with the late cold trend this winter, these babies need to start their lives indoors. Like preemies in hospital incubators, they require human assistance if they are going to thrive on their own.
I didn’t find the sister, but spent awhile in there anyway, just those little babies and me. Kale, Brussels sprouts, peppers, tomatoes, cauliflower … on and on the trays of wee little greenery are laid out on shelves, with grow lights hung inches above their tiny heads.
It actually seems brighter than day in there; I didn’t add up the wattage, but it’s up there. The combined lights of the two rooms illumine the entire parking lot at night. Thankfully for the night critters who depend on some degree of darkness for their midnight marketing, the plant nursery has a strict lights-out policy.
In their own way, baby plants are as adorable as baby animals. Right now the baby kale, which eventually will sport huge purple and green ruffle-edged leaves, has itty-bitty tender green leaves with only the promise of purple in their veins, their future ruffles simple cut-outs around the edges of the leaf. It’s still recognizable, though — just like the family of a newborn child can see Dad’s eyes, Mom’s nose, or Grandma’s red hair in the newest member of the clan.
Plant babies are fragile at this stage. Just enough water — but not too much, or they will die. Just enough, but not too much, light. Transplant when ready; don’t wait too long, but don’t jump the gun, either. Like most babies, they need frequent and careful attention.
Our sister-farmers form relationships with the crops — love affairs which begin when specs of seeds go gently into a few tablespoons of special potting soil. These are intense love affairs; over the next months we will literally become the plants, and the plants will become us.
Somehow all of this seemed … just right, I guess, for a Holy Saturday mini-meditation; this day, during which we remember life given, life transformed. Nothing is lost, not really. But it is wise to cherish and respect everything; we will certainly eat — and will indeed become — what we sow and reap.