The Spinach I Planted February 8th

The spinach I planted February 8th has started coming up. When I found the first sprout I crawled along the row with my nose to the ground and found four more. That evening there were eight, and the next morning eighteen. The morning after that I counted thirty two. I’m always happy and a bit surprised when seeds germinate, even after all these years. I know that’s what they are supposed to do, but poking little round balls of wood in the ground and getting plants to take life has always seemed a bit of a miracle to me. The child within calls it magic, the adult knows it’s science. Gardening can be as simple as breathing, or as complex as a university science lab. We get to oscillate back and forth through this spectrum as our whims dictate, all day long. Sometimes it’s best to ruminate on a topic for awhile in the garden, connecting the dots of your remembrances, before going on line in the evening to find an answer.

If it has rained so much that the worms have crawled up out of the ground, it’s probably a good idea to stay out of the garden. Compacting the soil goes against all the things you’ve tried to improve it with. Taking the tilth out of the ground is a terrible thing to do for both the microbes and the plant roots. I have a plank laying on the ground next to my pea planting so I can check on them without squishing the mud. They are not up yet even though I planted them Feb 2nd. This may be the second year in a row that the first planting failed. Climate change? I wonder how many times it will take before I begin to move the planting date ahead? “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of a small mind”, and it’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks :). Luckily the cost of pea seeds is irrelevant to me so I can just keep planting early and not tell anyone 🙂

Plants are our servants. They work constantly to produce carbohydrates and sugars to feed us and the animals we consume. They are responsible for all the food on earth, using the energy of the sun to perform complex chemical reactions. They remove carbon from the atmosphere to build their structure. They wick water up from the ground and use photosynthesis to break the molecules into atoms, that they recombine to transfer energy to the roots, stems and leaves. Not only do they sequester carbon but they discard oxygen. Win win. Their main stems must be like a four lane highway going in both directions at rush hour. The side stems taper down to three lanes and the leaves to two. The hydraulics of up are understandable because of leaf evaporation and osmosis, but the mechanics of pushing material down seems like it would need to be more than gravity.

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