About two months ago I was surprised to find some seedlings sprouting in my greenhouse bed. Surprise? Sure. It can be surprise if you planted the danged seeds LAST spring. Well! The germination brush-off in the instance of these onion sprouts holds a lesson for all of us seed-freaks at this time of year. Here is what my seeds were telling me:
It’s not you, it’s me.
Now, life would be wonderful if my seed packet had said “days to emergence: 7 to 365” as I’d have had something to expect. But it did not. In other words, the seeds sprouted when their situation was ideal for them, not for me. And that’s the lesson we all can take with us.
You see I think we’ve all internalized the notion that what is ideal for tomatoes (the fruity veg most likely to be started from seed) is what everything else expects too. And that is true in a way (warm soil, enough water, enough light) but it’s not absolute, it’s relative. Indeed, onion seeds sprout at much lower temperatures. Lettuces, carrots, and a whole passel of other things do too.
I keep referring back to the sprouting table in Nancy Bubel’s Seed-Starters Handbook for a reason, I guess. There’s a whole lot of truth in it that we need to understand. Otherwise, the knowledge gets handed to you in the form of seedlings you expected to arrive a year ago, or, well, not at all!