Written by Petra Page-Mann
Imagine walking out your front door, straight into a lush garden of fragrant basil, tomatoes ripe on the vine and sunflowers towering above you. The beans are clamoring up their stalks with hummingbirds zooming over zinnias. If the thought of garlic and shallots curing for the long winter ahead brings you immense satisfaction, and if eggplants growing larger each day leaves you in awe – we have some tips for you. If sharing endless ground cherries with everyone you love brings you joy, then now is the time to start a growing journey.
I grew up in my father’s garden here in the Finger Lakes and I now co-own a seed company. If you had asked my seven-year-old self what she loved to do, I would have told you about climbing mountains, reading books and baking cookies. Gardening was certainly not on the list – and neither was tying my shoes or brushing my teeth: these were just simple daily routines I took for granted. Only when I got older did I realize how grateful I was that gardening and seed saving were instilled in me, deeply and joyfully, from my earliest years.
I believe that our gardens feed us in so many ways, and calories are only the beginning. And now, in these unprecedented times, we need each other and our gardens more than ever. There are as many ways to garden as there are gardeners, but I ask of you three things as you begin this year’s planting journey: 1. Learn all you can from gardeners you love. 2. Experiment with curiosity and joy. 3. Share everything you learn with everyone you can… because we all grow more when we share more.
Whether you’ve gardened for years or just dreamed of doing so, the buds are bursting, birds are returning and it’s time to find your seeds to sow. Let’s go!
Seeds to Sow Now
Late March through mid-April we sow cold-hardy broccoli, kale, cabbage and lettuce indoors to harden off and transplant into our chilly gardens four weeks later.
In the first week of April, we’ll sow our cold-sensitive tomatoes, peppers and eggplant that need about 8 weeks indoors, before being hardened off and transplanted after the danger of final frost has passed.
Once the crocus have bloomed, here are the seeds you can sow right in the ground, even in containers:
- Asian spinach
- broccoli raab
- mesclun mix
- sweet peas
Gardening grounds us, feeding us in so many ways, connecting us to countless ancestors both plant and human who learned to thrive in both feast and famine. I’m grateful to join you on the journey.
Petra Page-Mann, Finger Lakes native and lifelong gardener, believes each seed — and each of us — are in the world to transform the world. She co-founded Fruition Seeds in 2012 to grow and share the seeds as well as inspiration we need to surround ourselves with abundance in short seasons. Download her planting calendar or join the online Seed Starting Academy for free at www.fruitionseeds.com.