Here in Wales, with weeks to go before the clocks spring forward, Spring is beginning those first tentative stretches towards the growing light. It is time to sort through the seed box
My seed box is really a bag, with a perfectly nice shoebox-sized box at the bottom filled with seeds I’m never going to use. Balanced precariously on the top are a couple of plastic grape boxes and plant pots crammed full of the seeds I do use or did last year. I should sort it out, I know I should. Once, I even made little dividers, the month scrawled across the top so I could find things -I never used them.
I know a proper gardener would have their seeds stacked in order, labels clearly legible – not the mad guesswork I undertake, trying to identify seeds by shape or mystical divination. A proper garden would keep a log of everything they’d grown- their success and failures- not sit playing Russian roulette with courgette seeds trying to remember which ones were amazing and which were the duds.
Saturday afternoon with a cup of tea is the perfect time to go through the seed box. By ‘go through the seed box’ obviously I don’t mean tidy it, or sort things into piles. I don’t even mean taking out the empty seed packets – what is this madness? Instead, I take a quick gander at what seeds I have, that I might want to use this year, before heading over to the Interweb to go seed shopping.
There is something eternally optimistic about seed shopping in early spring. All that potential, all those possibilities for the year to come. And there are pretty pictures and wonderful names – Ruffles red, Angel’s blush, Perfumed promise. I sit, with a rough idea of what I might want to sow this year but that flies out of the window when I spy the multitude of different cucumbers, the teeny-tiny aubergines and of course the tomatoes.
Tomatoes are my obsession. I don’t know why? I mean I like to eat them, who doesn’t, but there is something about the images of glistening vine-ripened fruits that I seem unable to resist.
I promised myself I would not repeat the tomatoes in lockdown fiasco. I was going to be disciplined. There is only my husband and me here now – oh and the dog who is partial to a daily carrot but not, as far as I know, Solanum Lycopersicum, those perfect little Love apples (tomato to you and me, I was just showing off)
Still, I find my online shopping basket full of such delights as Honey delight, Cherry rosella, Burlesque, Crimson crush, Ola Polka, Sweet Casaday and the lovely Shirley. I narrow my selection down to 5 varieties that I can grow in pots in the sunnier parts of the garden and press send, confident in my restraint.
But then I decided to write about seeds and went back to the website to check tomato names… Last time I did not notice the Artisan golden bumblebee, or the Cream sausage, or the Cuore Di Bue and now I’m entranced by the Dwarf Rotkappchen, my fingers hovering over Add to Basket.
There are worse obsessions I convince myself. Think of all the lovely tomatoes, I justify the dog. Could a few more do any harm?
I’d like to tell you I resisted. I’d like to stay and write more … really, I would… but there’s a tomato calling my name.