~ Scatter Joy. ~
Ralph Waldo Emerson
I think these words by Emerson are simple and profound. Joy is meant to be scattered like seeds springing forth with the new growth of kindness and happiness. Case in point, Random Acts of Kindness. Just being nice to people every day. I like to smile at people even complete strangers. When someone passes me on the street or in the store or anywhere, I try to make it a point to smile. It is not fake or forced; it is genuine. I am happy and by smiling I make myself and them happy. It is rare someone doesn’t smile back or say something, but it happens. I still keep smilin’.
Recently I had to make a trip to the Social Security (SS) Office at the Federal Building in town. If you have never had that particular joy, don’t if you can help it. It is one of the busiest places you will ever encounter. There were 75 chairs (yes I counted) in this small room and every one was filled and stayed filled. The first joyful thing in going to the SS Office is you have to go downtown and pay to park. Then you have to go through security and give up your cell phone if it has a camera (most do). Next you have to tell another security guard your business so they can put you in the right queue. And if you are lucky to find a seat, you sit and wait and wait and wait. No one looks at anyone or talks unless it is the person they came with. And it is a sad place. All the hard luck stories; very sad circumstances and poverty or immigrants trying to figure out the language and the system. I was there to get another Social Security card. When I was married and changed my name, I went to the SS Office to get a new card. I discovered recently that I never received the new card.
I am not good at waiting, but for some reason I decided to not let all of this get to me. If I did have the chance to make eye contact with someone I smiled. And after an hour when I finally reached the window, I found a nice smiling face greeting me as I smiled back; huh. And she was so helpful and efficient. This seemingly bad experience turned out to be a relatively happy time I’m convinced because I decided to be happy. Great lesson for me; if you expect it to turn out bad it will so instead expect the best!!
As the winter has seemingly dragged on, I finally received my grow light. And so it was seed planting time. YES!! What joy in being able to plant in the dead of winter and maybe even harvest. So I set up a tray of soil using an aluminum lasagna tray that I poked holes in and placed it in another plastic tray. I brewed up some Manure Tea courtesy of Annie Haven. This incredible soil conditioner tea is sold online at Authentic Haven Brand Natural Brew. Watered the soil with the tea, scattered the baby leaf lettuce seeds and planted a row of slow bolt cilantro. The seeds were from Renee’s Garden Seeds.
Then I set the tray on the heat mat, secured a dome on top and set everything under the grow light. I didn’t use the grow light until the seeds had germinated. The lettuce was up in 2 days while the cilantro took 7 days. Pretty impressive. I removed the dome after 2 days and set the grow light about 6 inches from the tray. It is on all the time as long as we are home. If we are gone during the day, the light is off and then back on at night. See the results so far for yourself below. I think the biggest joy here has been in the learning and discovery.
Lettuce after 2 days
Lettuce after 5 days.
Lettuce after 7 days with true leaves emerging quickly and getting their color.
Cilantro germinated and poking through after 7 days and then 5 days later as it gets its true leaves.
Lettuce now 12 days old. Time to harvest soon and thin the plants.
With the success of the first planting, I planted more lettuce and it also germinated after 2 days. I am also planting basil and Italian parsley to see how they do. This experiment will let me know how and when to start sowing herbs and greens indoors next fall so I can grow from late fall into winter.
One great tip I learned recently to avoid Damping Off Disease, where the seedlings wilt and die, is to add weak chamomile tea to the water. I will let you know if it helps.
As you begin to contemplate your vegetable garden consider a great online site to help plan, draw, organize and plant your vegetable garden, GrowVeg.com. It is really an online garden journal. Sign up for the free trial and the great newsletter with lots of helpful hints. These folks are always adding features to the site. Helped me a lot last year when I started my first vegetable garden. If you sign up for a free trial, make sure you look at all the tutorials to see all the great features. This site is set up for anywhere in the world and can be customized further for your growing needs.
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