Rituals of the Season’s Start

It’s mid-January, and I’m chomping at the bit to get the season going.  Ill health in my family during December preoccupied me and interrupted some of my usually steady winter attention on ordering seeds and such, but whether well or ill, able or disabled, the season marches on, and I am feeling that urge to get moving. 

Normally I have a ritual of planting something on January 1, but this year I slipped back a bit, digging into last year’s seed supply and starting some lettuce and leeks on January 10.  The leek seed, by the way, is a few years old, and even though every gardening book I read says leek seed has only a one-year lifespan, these are germinating strongly.  Perhaps that should give us all pause to wonder what kind of wiggle room exists in all the other garden “wisdom” that the writers of garden books and magazine articles  and seed catalogs (and blogs!) hand down.  Anyway, in addition to some  ritualistic seeding in early January, I also try to clear out the seed room and make some improvements.  This year I deconstructed a wooden-framed plant shelf and replaced it with a sturdy, one might say nigh indestructible, used metal shelf with wire racks.  Because I got it at a used warehouse supply store, the price was quite affordable for the quality.  Here it is at the store.

See what I mean about that price?  Almost worth it’s weight as scrap metal, to say nothing of its utility as a shelf.

 In addition to the shelves, I decided to upgrade some light fixtures,moving from jury-rigged individual bulbs
 to two Sun System, electronically-ballasted, t8, 8-bulb light fixtures. 
 Now that may be a lot of gobbledygook to you, but suffice it to say that these are good lights for plants. On some gray day in February I will make a post on artificial lighting, which certainly merits the column space, but for now there are more pressing considerations. With the lights on and the first seedlings up, the season has officially begun (at least for me it has).  As in olden times, I hope my ritualistic offerings of a clean (OK, partially clean) seed room and new shelving and lighting will propitiate the seed gods and make them smile on my endeavors.  But no matter how many new light fixtures I install, there is one more seasonal ritual element which is necessary to guarantee the success of all those thus far done – get that seed order finished!  For as we all know: no seeds, no help from the seed gods.