Monday, January 14, 2013

The Most Hopeful Thing in the World

Seeds are amazing.  A plant three feet tall and 3 feet wide might grow and struggle and collect energy and nutrients for an entire season or more, then take all of that hoarded bounty and place it into tiny, hard little capsules. For thousands of years, human beings carried seeds with them wherever they went - stored wealth before there were banks, or even currency.  It's hard for me to imagine the discipline it must have taken to leave a portion of the crop uneaten, good winter or bad, in order to make sure there was enough to plant next year.

Thankfully, we live in fortunate times.  Today I spent about four hours going through my seed catalogs, checking and rechecking the lists I've made the past couple months: plants I intend to grow, seeds I already have, seeds and plants I need to order.  In the past three years I have consistently ordered from three seed companies per year.  This year, in an attempt to be frugal, I was trying to limit it to just one.  (Larger orders tend to get discounts, free shipping, etc.)  In the end I chose:

Southern Exposure Seed Exchange - I've had nothing but good experiences with them the past two years, and definitely would have given them all of my business this year.

Unfortunately, they don't sell some things I really, really wanted to order, so I had to add in

Park Seeds - I've had a series of bad experiences with them the past three years, and their prices are exorbitant.  However, they sell (apparently) unusual vegetable seeds like scallions and pac choi, along with a good selection of fruits and berries.  They have a wonderful website with long, detailed descriptions and growing details for their products.  All of their seeds come in tough, water-resistant foil envelopes that I can't accidentally spill all over the place.  And finally, everything I have ever bought from them not only germinated, but thrived.  Assuming it arrived.  (I know I should get over this, but that packet of cauliflower seeds that arrived 8 months after I ordered it just really gets my goat!)

The title of this post is part of a quote SESE featured on the back of their catalog.  It's from a book called The Seed Underground, by Janisse Ray.  "I'm going to tell you about the most hopeful thing in the world.  It is a seed."  And soon - maybe even as I write this - little packets of hope will be winging their way across the country, tracing out shipping lanes in the sky, bumping down gravel roads and city streets, and landing - like pretty little presents - in peoples' mailboxes.  Don't you wish you were a gardener?

1 comment: