The latest Arctic blast has subsided and retreated as a south wind came up this afternoon. This morning’s 9º F temperature has risen to 45º F and the air feels almost balmy. It’s a fool’s paradise and bound to end soon, but for today, I had the itch to garden. Certainly one can’t dig in the garden and plant seeds yet. We still aren’t finished with January, for Pete’s sake.
Instead, I sorted through our seed collection that I keep in a plastic box in the basement. I was looking for seeds that I will start indoors in a few weeks. I found a bit of paper towel with twenty seeds dried onto it. The label says, “Abe Lincoln, 2008.” Oh, I love the Abe Lincoln tomato and plan to grow some this year. Will 6-year-old-home-saved seeds be viable? I decided to do a germination test. I picked off ten of the seeds and arranged them on a piece of wet paper towel. (Ten is a good number of seeds to test. It makes figuring the percentage of germination easy later on.)
I folded the towel in half to cover the seeds and put the towel in a plastic sandwich bag with a label.
I also started a germination test on some home-saved seeds labeled “Favorite Pepper.” No date. Then I found a packet of Chinese cabbage seeds with the sell by date of Dec. 2012. There are a jillion seeds in that package, so I started a test on them, too.
I put the bags on top of the refrigerator where it’s a bit warmer. The seeds, if viable, won’t germinate for a few days, but I’ll check them frequently. I especially hope the home-saved seeds will germinate. They are acclimated to Kansas’s summers and might succeed in the garden when plants from other states or regions wouldn’t.
So, there it is, my January gardening project. It gave my sagging winter spirits a lift to look forward to spring and gardening again.
Copyright 2014 by Shirley Domer