Day 37: Success can be a frightening thing, but this is just sheer triumph. The measure of botanic miracle is in whether delphinium in numbers can be obtained first season for a mere pittance, and after three years of failure to bring those seed to life under lights, I have dozens and dozens of them! I have maroon petunias and snap dragons, azure salvia and sweet peas, clove-scented dianthus, indigo viola (germinated in the dark), and more.
I have multiple kales, peas, multi-coloured cauliflower and carrots, bok choy, broccoli, many lettuces, red orach, cabbages, chards, soy, fava and broad beans, eggplant, peppers, and thyme. I have passed a test and I am overjoyed. Tomatoes were never even in question.Though the spring has put us back at least a month, there will be a concertina effect within days: spring and frenetic garden work will hit with a compression bang, so I’ll be heading to Styx Crossing with many of these babies in a week. Up there, the clock will be ticking furiously. I have no time to get or build any greenhouse, no lights, not even cold frames, so until that alters, I’ll be back and forth, bush to city quite a bit until the major first-week-of-June plant. Since weed is the most prolific crop there, one of my first tasks may be to create a temporary weed-free bedding area, but the peas need to find their summer home possibly before I even open my own.
This split location propagating has been worth much on-line research; the benefits and pit-falls, the relative costs of additional tube lighting, unheated cold frames, or greenhouse construction – this research is what I have spent more than a few days on the couch doing. And though the romantic in me is very badly longing to stand in my own greenhouse, I am reaching the more rational conclusion that I just may never need one up north. The vulnerable period between two inch basement seedling and robust tomato plant in the windy yard must be travelled very carefully. I think a modest addition of artificial lights kept up north combined with substantive cold frames is where I am likely headed. Whether I have time to build any makeshift cold frames this spring remains to be seen, but if not, I can heft the little ones in and out of the comfortable house as weather permits like fat-cheeked babies in a pram. And as if someone wishes to personally bless me for my courage and blind faith in the dark and cold winter basement over the last two months, this morning I received my 2018 letter of invitation to Jardin de Quatre-Vents in Saguenay-Saint-Laurent. Life is, on occasion, just so darned good.