The First Seedling of 2010

The slow, painful wait for the first sprouted seed of the 2010 garden has concluded. A wild, unnamed variety of kale has won the race. We are growing three types of kale in our spring garden.

We’ve planted dwarf blue scotch kale, black tuscan/dinosaur kale, and a pack of “wild kale,” a random mix of siberian kales bred as edible ornamentals. This might be excessive, but kale is Krista’s favorite vegetable. When I asked her which variety I should grow, she said “All of them.” I left the fizz kale, the white siberian kale, the winterbor, and the red russian for another season. When I left for work this morning, I saw one of the wild kale seeds was starting to unfurl. You can see the silvery, fuzzy root hairs on the embryonic seed root, known as the radicle. Also, the scientific powers-that-be named a tiny seedling root “radicle.” If you are the sort of person who uses the word “radical” (i am), don’t you just feel like the universe is on your side with a sly winking nod right now?

By the time I got home from work, the tiny plant had straightened itself out and stood up to reach toward the fluorescent light, and a few kale friends were starting to emerge too. All of the Brassica family are getting started – kale, broccoli and brussels sprouts. They are indistinguishable in these early days.

In the time I’ve written this, they have gotten bigger and greener and more green heads have emerged. No kidding, I need one of those time-lapse plant cams to document the magic happening in my seed starting trays.

A sprouting seed happens almost without effort on the part of the gardener. The seed has everything inside its seed coat to give it a good start – leaves, roots, stem, nutrients. You just have to keep it moist enough & warm enough, and it will sprout. After it sprouts, that’s when the work starts. You have to provide light, water and sufficient warmth, protection from the elements and drafty breezes and cats, and you have to talk to the sprouts and caress them so they get strong stems, and play music for them, nearly every day, and read bedtime stories. Cross my heart, it’s critical.

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