Trust in Tomorrow

Planting something in the ground is all about trust.

You have to trust that the seed is good or that the seedling is strong. Trust that you plant with the right technique. Trust in the soil to deliver nutrients, trust that the sun shines and the rain falls at the right time and in the right amounts. While healthy plants can handle a mistake or two, careful not to make too many or your hard work withers and dies - along with your hopes and expectations.

Carrot seeds on 5mm grid
Courtesy of Wikimedia
Take the ubiquitous carrot, for example. I started thinking about trust while planting carrots because I've never grown carrots before. Have you ever seen a carrot seed? They're teeny tiny! I find it hard to believe that seeds so tiny will germinate in large enough numbers to make actual carrots in 54-76 days.

As I read the planting instructions for a variety called "Danvers Half Long" (who makes up these names?), it said to "sow seeds thinly and evenly". I had to smile - my fingers were wet, cold, and caked in mud. Not exactly ideal conditions for being nimble with something that's practically microscopic.

So I didn't exactly plant thinly, and I'll probably pay for it later when I have to thin them. Can't you just hear the little carrots cry when I rip them away from their friends? Breaks my heart.

Carrots take a long time to germinate, so I dropped a few radish seeds so I would remember where the carrot rows are.

Onions and potatoes are also happily in the ground, and just in time - some of them were jumping the gun and sprouting already. I'd never planted potatoes before either, but somehow it's easier to believe that they'll sprout with vigor when compared to the carrots.

Earth Day was last week, so I found it appropriate that the 250 trees and bushes we ordered from our local Natural Resource District showed up. Take that, John Denver and your catchy song for Arbor Day!

Deciding which trees to order took a long time - we took stock of what we have in our grove and what we lack, what purpose we want the tree or bush to serve, and how much room we have. In the end we got lilacs and dogwoods for a hedge to protect the garden from road dust and pesticide drift, red cedars for a living snow fence, Colorado blue spruce to fill in the shady gaps, and cottonwood and honey locust for firewood.

Here again, I trust some of these trees to grow much more than others. The red cedars and dogwoods came to us looking robust, while the blue spruce and honey locusts were hardly more than twigs. Fingers crossed that most of them make it, despite my tripping over them in the dark on the way to the chicken coop.

Our huge chicken coop
Speaking of the chickens, my little babies made the big move from my basement to their new home in the coop. They're adjusting fine, though their new enclosure within the coop is a wee bit drafty.

I like it because one side was formerly a screen door that I found in the barn, so I can sit on the floor and watch them instead of towering from above. Sometimes, I get the feeling that they think of me as a big pair of black boots and some disembodied hands reaching down from the sky. No wonder they scatter if I move too quickly.

Trust in living things is warranted, or such is my experience so far. As proof, we ate the first arugula and mesclun salad of the season Sunday evening, courtesy of the experimental cold frame made out of scrap wood and old window panes found in the farrowing barn. Oh fresh leafy greens, how I have missed thee!

As if my life isn't full enough of farms, food and politics, I watched Food, Inc. again this weekend. Darn good movie, even if I disagree with a few of the policy suggestions. It's being shown for free on PBS until April 29th. Go watch it.