Every spring I dread those five little words. “Mama, can we plant something?”
I am a not a gardener. Any living plant I am given ultimately dies from either neglect or too much attention. Generally there is first neglect and then too much attention. There have been few plants that have survived what my family laughingly calls my “black thumb.”
Almost every spring, we make the trek to the store for seeds, pots, and soil.
I am convinced that whatever we plant will ultimately wither and die under my supervision. Most years I have been correct. Only two types of plants proved hardy enough to withstand my neglect - two giant sunflowers and a box full of zinnias. The African daisies that were mixed with the zinnias were quickly crowded out and with little sunlight they did not fare well.
Funny thing about those seed packets though… they only show the Lower 48 states. While we know when to plant particular seeds if we lived in, say, Florida or Maine or Wyoming, there is no information on the packets for our current state.
Living on an island off the coast of Alaska presents some challenges. First, we do not own our home and are not allowed to dig a garden. Second, when exactly HAS the threat of frost passed? Finally, what on earth grows in Alaska?? Our climate is milder than much of the state. For example, our winter temperatures were mostly in the 30s. (Fahrenheit) My friend, who lives in another part of Alaska, experienced much colder temperatures than we did. Since the daytime temperatures have begun to stay in the 40s, I decided today was a good day to plant.
My oldest gathered all the supplies they would need. A shovel-full of dirt from the flowerbed, a few plastic cups and a few old egg cartons were staged in the garage. She called her sisters and off they went. Filling the cups and egg cartons with soil, hands turning black from the earth, they eagerly pressed the seeds into each container. As they finished, they lined the containers up along our front walk. A light, misty rain gently watered the seeds.
Will anything actually grow? Only time will tell. Our island has only seen less than 30 days of sunshine since January 1. But how would we have the brilliant green grass, the shimmering wildflowers or the beautiful rainbows without the rain?
Whether you have a “black thumb” like me or are an accomplished gardener, planting seeds is a simple project for you and your children. All it requires is a container, some seeds, and some soil. Combine those with a touch of water and sunshine and sit back and enjoy what you have grown. If it doesn’t work out, there is always next spring!