By Mindy McIntosh-Shetter
Years ago, I had a friend that got the gardening bug.
This friend was the true definition of a Brown Thumb Gardener.
She was always calling me with questions and many times would show up at my door begging me to come over and look at her garden.
She used to call me “The Garden Whisper” because I could take plants cast out as trash and make them grow.
Well, I would never say I am a “Garden Whisper” but instead I would say that I am a frugal gardener that really knows how to grow plants. But since I have been blessed with this skill, I always go over and “whisper” to her garden.
But one day, she showed up to my door with a package and on the surface it was just a plain, brown envelope. Inside though, was not items that were just plain, instead that contained life, life that would thrive with a little care and understanding from its caretaker. Unfortunately, this caretaker was a new mamma that had no clue how to take care of this potential life.
Taking my friend under my wing, I opened her package and found several individually wrapped seed packs and an invoice. As a cautious soul, I checked the invoice with what was in the package. Then, once the order was confirmed we began to sort out the seed packs. This sorting consisted of warm verses cool season crops along with flowers.
After that was done, we came up with a planting calendar, which should have been done prior to ordering. But since I am the “Garden Whisper” or at least according to my friend, I can save the day.
Once the calendar was complete and we had a plan of action, the next step was what to do with the seeds. Seeds are little fragile capsules of life that under Mother Nature’s thumb do very well but when humans get involved well……………
And every gardener understands what the “well” means and how it is just one piece of the puzzle that can make or break a garden. The dreaded “well” can be turned into success with a few easy steps.
First, always remove seeds from any plastic coverings. This can cause the seeds to mold. Second, store the seeds in a cool, dry place and away from any heat source. Doing this simple step will keep your seeds viable and improve on your germination rate. If you do not have an area such as this, store your seeds in the refrigerator but do not store with fruit. Fruit releases ethylene gas, which decreases the viability of seeds and the life of flowers.
Third, do not store your seeds in the garage. Rodents love to move into these spaces during the winter and will find these seeds. Your seeds will become part of a rodents “Dinner and a Movie Night.” And forth, always remember where you store your seeds. I have known many gardeners who store their seeds properly but forget where they put them and end up ordering more.
So until we blog again, seeds are the capsules of life for many plants. To unharness the secrets of these capsules, the gardeners must tuck them into a proper winter slumber to guarantee a restful spring germination.