The other day, Miriam and I stopped by the feedstore. She picked out a new water trough while I grabbed a better pair of ice spikes for my boots. While waiting for the trough to be loaded into the pickup truck, I espied a seed packet display and couldn’t resist picking up a few packets (radishes, Romano beans, and basil, if you’re curious).
Wow,” said Miriam as she saw the clerk ringing up my seeds, “that’s faith.
That was half-true. I do have what Henry David Thoreau called “faith in a seed” — trust that spring will come, that seeds will sprout, that animals will pollinate, that plants will fruit, and that winds and animals will help to disperse the next generation of seed.
But that’s not why I was buying seeds that day. It was to save myself.
As every hardcore gardener knows, browsing seed catalogs while dreaming of the 10001 varieties of vegetables and flowers you might grow is one way to survive a hard winter. If you can summon up the energy, time, and supplies to do so, you can even jump-start spring before the snow begins to melt.
I don’t have any particular advice to give about veganic seed starting, except to say that you can probably scrounge up or make “pots” for seedlings from your recyclables. Yogurt cups and soymilk containers make excellent planters, and you can even make pots that can be planted right into the ground from newspapers or brown paper bags.
I do advise you, even if you’re a haphazard or first-time gardener, to do some dreaming and thinking right now. Daydream about what you’d like to grow. Try to figure out how many plants of each of your favorites you will need and how you will fit that into the space in which you’ll be gardening. Think about expanding that space. Are there fences or other verticals that you could use as trellises for vining plants like pole beans, peas, and many varieties of cucumber, melon, and squash?
And, if you have to go to the hardware store for any reason, give the seed racks a spin and dream.
Oh, and speaking of seeds (and dreaming), VINE needs seed money for a offshoot: VINE Press, which will include a handbook on veganic farming and gardening among its publications. Please do visit and share our crowdfunding campaign for this exciting new venture.