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Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Wonder of Seeds

Gardening is an act of faith, especially as spring approaches and we start to think about the remarkable potential packed inside a seed. No other aspect of home gardening can start out on such a small scale and lead to such big results in just a matter of weeks.

Even in the middle of a mild-mannered winter such as this one along Colorado's front range, my inner-gardener can't walk by the seed racks at Tagawa's without stopping to admire the promise that all those seed packets hold. "Big Beef" tomatoes, so red and ripe you can almost feel the summer sun. "Scarlet Emperor" beans, the Scarlet Runner beans of my youth. They were the one bit of gardening my father did faithfully..... tucking the beautiful black and purple beans along the side of our breezeway for some welcome summer shade. And the countless flowers and vegetables offered by Botanical Interests out of Broomfield. The illustrations on the seed packets themselves are works of art, literally.

Vegetable gardening is making a huge comeback. Perhaps the increasing popularity of growing your own food comes from a need to be more in charge of what we eat, and where and how it's grown. Or maybe it's even more basic... wanting to carve out a place away from cell phones and traffic jams, where the pace is set by the seeds and the soil and the sun.

The folks here at Tagawa's are eager to help you indulge a back-to-the-garden movement of your own. March brings lots of free classes on how to start flowers and vegetables from seed.... and how to help nurture those plants as the growing season unfolds. We have the supplies and advice to put your gardening passion to work.

If that passion could use a little nurturing of its own, and it's been a while since you thought about the wonder of seeds, try this: Pick up a packet of seeds. Almost any kind of bean seeds will work especially well. Take a few of those seeds, roll them up in a wet paper towel, tuck them away in an unsealed plastic bag and leave them in a warm spot to incubate for a few days.

If they're kept moist, but not too wet, you can watch the seeds swell and split and send out fledgling roots, ready to go to work, just as they would in warm soil in spring. The difference is the seeds ususally perform this wonder way from our prying eyes.

With a renewed appreciation of the wonder of seeds, all that's left to do will be to plant the rest of those beans in the ground once the soil warms up. You might be surprised how much simple pleasure comes from nurturing plants and harvesting a crop that was no more than a few seeds as winter was drawing to an end.

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