Coaxing Cotyledons

The long counter in our garden shed is the current site of an abundance of germination. Moist, warm soil has done its work along with light on some of the seeds, and primary leaves are now beginning to push through. This marvelous process never fails to amaze me.

Fourteen trays of flower seeds are planted. Most are perennials destined for a spring master gardener’s plant sale. It’s essential to have patience and to know each seed variety’s germination requirements, from depth of planting, to darkness (i.e. sweet peas) to cool soil or the absence of heating mats (i.e. aquilegia).

The first to emerge and proudly display their cotyledons are four trays of lupines and sweet peas, followed closely by cosmos and polemonium or Jacob’s Ladder. Soon celosia, delphiniums, salvia, digitalis, scabiosa, and aquilegia will join the party. It all reminds me a bit of the old-timey horse race games at carnivals — “Now in the lead are the sweet peas, but coming from behind are the salvias!” Slow and steady wins this race!

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