Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Digging in the Dirt: What a Difference - Dominica Myers

Planting potatoes
Digging in the Dirt:
What a Difference
by Dominica Myers

When I was in college, my Mom turned me on to the music of Dinah Washington, and as Ms. Washington’s signature song so aptly states – What a Diff’rence a Day Makes.

Well, it’s more like a week in this case…what a difference a week makes! Last week, I was practically paralyzed in overstimulated fear standing on the seed packet aisle at the local department chain store. Today the heavens opened up and introduced me to the family-owned and infinitely friendly Sky Nursery in Shoreline. I’d had several green thumb friends recommend Sky and it’s a good thing I finally took them up on the advice. What an oasis!

I started my visit there less than 30 minutes before closing, after a long day of work, with the same glazed-eyed, overwhelmed stupor as my trip to the department store last week. But this time, some friendly soul came up and asked if I needed help and then passed me on to an edibles gardening specialist named Karen, who showed me exactly the vegetable starts I showed interest in and carefully explained the difference between the varieties. Jack was his normal, jumping bean, precocious self, so Karen kindly pointed him to the next aisle over where there’s a little station with crayons and paper for the kidlets.

While Jack colored his rainbow rainy day umbrella ditto, Karen showed me to some starts for sugar snap peas, Buttercrunch and Romaine lettuce, spinach, and two varieties of strawberries. We also picked up seeded white and red potatoes for planting in the burlap sacks that we got last week from the community school dad, and a big bag of organic potting soil. We had also wanted carrot seeds, tomatoes, and maybe some flowers for a little color and fun, but had decided to wait until next weekend. After all, we were gonna start small, right? Plus, the nice lady on the way out said I don’t have to start the tomatoes until the weather warms up after Mother’s Day. Score!

We finished about 10 minutes after closing time, but they never mentioned it or hurried us out. I didn’t even notice until I turned the car on and saw the time.

Jack was super excited to be sharing the back seat with the vegetable starts and even more excited to get home, rinse out the kitty litter containers, and get some dirt in them! We’d picked up some gardening gloves and mini-shovels from the Dollar store weeks earlier, so he wanted to bust those bad boys out and start…ninja fighting.

Amidst the ninja fighting shovels and consequent sound effects, we rolled down the sides of the burlap sacks and planted the seeded potatoes in them – three inches of soil above and below, and one variety in each bag. The potting soil bag only turned out to be enough for the potatoes and two varieties of strawberries, so we’ll have to go back for another bag tomorrow or the next couple of days. I forgot to poke holes in the bottom of one of the buckets for drainage before putting the soil and strawberry start in.  We’ll have to figure that one out…

Seattle forecast is calling for lots of sunshine this week (happy dance!), though a bone chilling 38 degrees tonight (ugh!). I hope my strawberries are okay out there. My semi-maternal instincts decided to semi-cover them with lids to keep the cold out. I hope that was right. I’m poking around in the dark a bit here, but at least I’m feeling inspired and accomplished. What a difference a week makes. Let’s see if something grows!

Seattle native, Dominica Myers, is a theatre artist, writer, and arts administrator. She lives just outside Seattle with her small family and two cats, and enjoys writing most when it rains.   Follow her on Twitter.

(Above photos by Dominica Myers)

No comments: