Some people enjoy shopping for clothing, jewelry, furniture or firearms. I love shopping for seeds. I must show restraint on websites such as Johnny’s Seeds, Main Street Seed and Supply, Territorial Seed Company, and many others. Our vegetable plots are all spoken for which leaves me with the impossible task of passing over plants and varieties that have caught my eye. The paradox of choice, the more options, the harder it is to commit.
Nothing is a greater biological feat than a tiny packet of plant material transforming into a glorious plant. I really love the Brassicaceae seed family. At this point we have yet to build a vacuum seeder so I’m doing all the seeding by hand, and way those brassica seeds just roll off the fingers is so smooth and satisfying. I also love this family because of the remarkable consistency of their seed packets. When comparing the seeds of this family it is difficult to distinguish between the following plants, all of which I have seeded in the past few weeks: broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, green cabbage, red cabbage, Chinese cabbage, kohlrabi, mustard greens, mizuna, rutabaga, turnips, arugula, kale, pak choi, tatsoi, and collard greens. And that list only includes the brassica crops which we are growing. Remarkable.
But my love is not discriminating; I also love the Lamiaceae family, the mint family, whose members are typically impossibly tiny to handle, as well as the Amaranthaceae family including spinach, beets, and swiss chard, whose large seeds offer a respite from the tedium of most other families. And so our season is officially underway; we will do our best to coax as much greatness from our humble seeds as they will offer.